This week’s Study Abroad Tip Of The Week is all about leaving the crowd behind and doing things alone. Often we’re so caught up in worrying about what others will think of us that we don’t dare go do things by ourselves, but we could be missing out on a lot of fun!
Here is a list of some fun things you can try on your own while on Study Abroad:
1. Attend a language exchange. If one of your main goals is to improve your second language you will want to seek out as many opportunities as possible to practice. Going alone will force you to speak more and interact with people you might not have otherwise if you had gone with your friends.
2. Take a day trip. There will certainly be cool things to see in the region where you are studying abroad, so pick a place and book yourself a trip. Navigating the transport system alone, interacting with locals and other visitors, and maybe even eating alone can be liberating and allow you to see exactly what you want to.
3. Dine out. Speaking of eating alone, make a point of having a lunch or dinner date with yourself. Use it as a way to practice living in the present moment. Put your phone down, leave that book in your bag, and just pay attention to the people, sounds, and smells around you. Leave yourself open to what shows up.
4. People watch. People watching on Study Abroad can be a complete course in cross-cultural training. People can be so entertaining if you really watch and listen. So find a cafe or plaza, get comfortable and just observe. Do you notice anything different about the behavior of the locals? The tourists?
5. Wander around and get lost. We’re creatures of habit and you will undoubtedly form new routines on Study Abroad, taking the same busses and streets every day for example. Shake it up and start wandering around. Discover new neighborhoods, new favorite hangouts, or maybe even places to avoid!
6. Take a class of local interest. Seek out a weekend cooking class, flamenco dance class, yoga/meditation course or any other number of offerings where you’re studying. You’re bound to meet other people there who are also going it alone and you’ll get even more connected to the place you’re studying in the process.
7. Go to a movie. Rainy afternoon? Go see that new release. I remember seeing Todo Sobre Mi Madre by Pedro Almodovar while it was still in the theater in Seville, Spain and then watched it bring home the Oscar for best foreign language film a few months later. You know those foreign language films aren’t considered foreign everywhere!
8. Rent a bike and explore. Many cities around the world have amazing infrastructure for bicycles. If you happen to be studying in one, rent a bike for the day and go exploring. Things looks different while zipping around on a bike instead of taking public transport. Plus you can help the environment at the same time and it’s just plain fun!
9. Visit a museum or gallery. If you’re with friends at a museum you might end up seeing things that the group wants, but that you may not be that interested in. Going alone frees up you to spend as much time seeing exactly what you want.
10. Spend time in nature. Whether you find an amazing park in the city, a nearby lake, beach, mountain or hiking trail, spend some time alone in nature. The world’s a beautiful place and connecting to nature alone creates amazing opportunity for self-reflection. It’s good for the soul!
Enjoy exploring creative ways to spend time alone on Study Abroad!