Every moment counts. Especially when you’re living abroad for a short time. Don’t waste your year or months abroad! The worst thing that can happen is that you look back to your time abroad and realize you didn’t do most of the things you wanted to do or things you could do. Life is short and your time abroad is even shorter. But don’t worry, I got you covered.
You will have the most fulfilling and rewarding time abroad with these tips:
1. Go to a local language exchange group!
The first thing you can do upon arrival is to find out where the local language exchange meets up! It’s a great way to get to know people and you might even learn some words in a new language!
2. Take the bus/subway and get off at a random station!
You might know the way to your job and back home and maybe how to get downtown but that’s not all of the new city you can call your home now! If you’re bored on a lazy Sunday afternoon, get on a bus or subway and get off at a random spot. You will be surprised what interesting restaurants, beautiful temples or cool shops might lie right before you!
3. Listen to music in your host country’s language!
Wouldn’t it be great to get to know your host country’s culture even better through local music? Each country has its own music industry far different from the global US pop phenomenon. Simply search for some cool local artists on Youtube or ask local friends or colleagues!
4. Wear your host country’s traditional clothes!
Wearing traditional clothes from a different country can be quite intimidating but it’s more fun than embarrassment! Big cities usually offer this kind of “experience” for tourists to try out! May it be Chinese Hanfu, Korean Hanbok or Japanese Kimono, I tried it all and was not disappointed!
5. Travel to at least 5 other tourist spots in the country before leaving!
Don’t make the mistake and stay in your city for the entire time you spend abroad. As we all know, everywhere in America is not at all like New York City as we see it in the movies! You might miss out on other beautiful places in your host country! Buy a “Lonely Planet” travel book or search online for interesting places in your host country or neighboring countries!
6. Make local friends – don’t stay in your bubble!
Everywhere you go, you might find other foreign expats who have a lot in common with you! That’s great! You can make friends who speak the same language, eat the same food and experience the same cultural issues as you! However, don’t make the mistake and stay in this bubble! Try to also make local friends to be able to experience the country to the fullest – how it really is from the perspective of a local!
7. Go see a movie in your host country’s language!
If you speak the language of your host country, great! If not, don’t worry, you can still go to the movies and have a great time! Body language usually makes up of 55% of communication which means you would understand a little more than half of what’s happening in the movie anyways – but that’s not the point. It’s more about the cultural aspect. Different countries have a different sense of humor or make movies in a different way than you might be used to! It can be an eye-opening experience to see a movie from a different country!
8. Go to a restaurant and point at a random dish on the menu!
Do you sometimes feel like you would love to try local food but you can’t read the menu so you end of going to McDonald’s? Let me take the pressure away – simply point at a random dish and be surprised! Caution: if you have allergies this might not be an option for you but if you’re allergy free: No excuses! Everything served at a restaurant is 100% edible and won’t kill you even if you’re might not used to eating this particular food.
9. Try to learn a local sport or music instrument!
Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to impress friends and family back home with a new sport or music skill you picked up while abroad? No matter if you’re into martial arts or traditional instruments, the options are endless no matter what country you are in! Don’t forget all of the different dance styles from Argentinian Tango to Indian bellydance! What better way to explore a country’s culture?
10. Go on a date with a local!
If you’re single and ready to mingle why not set up a date with a local person? I can tell you from my own experience there’s nothing more rewarding than dating someone from a different culture. You get to experience, see and do things that you have never heard of before. Even if you don’t end up together and get married, it’s still a valuable experience for the future!