Taking the Plunge to Study Abroad

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A few weeks ago, I embarked on an adventure to backpack through six cities in Europe. A trip like this requires thoroughness and above all, patience.  Initially, the planning process was daunting and extremely time consuming, but the end result was implausible. The two girls I went with were seemingly “the planners,” while I was more concerned about trying every flavor gelato, being a part of history in Vatican City during the Canonization, and climbing the Eiffel Tower. This was the Eat, Pray, Love moment I’ve been waiting for. Truth be told, the whole reason why I entertained the idea of crossing the pond was because my virtuous sister was studying abroad in Southern France. I have always wanted to visit Europe, but this gave me a good excuse to take the plunge.

Backpacks

Looking back on my college years, the only thing that would have made it superior would have been studying abroad. The experience one receives when transporting into another country and culture is inconceivable. It is quite intimating thinking about navigating a foreign city, eating unique cuisine, all while working through the obvious language barrier.  With that being said, if given the opportunity to study internationally, the answer should be an immediate YES.

Eiffel Tower

Preparation may be the toughest part of the whole experience, but that should not shy anyone away. Deciding what classes to take abroad, what kind of agenda you will be following, and how you will adjust to the time difference is all par for the course. Most things will work themselves out, and it will be smooth sailing in no time.  Living on campus at the university is a great way to quickly meet other students in the same boat as you. Often before going abroad, there are different local groups set up for students from the same school or geographic area to meet before taking off.  There is a sense of comfort that comes from meeting people who are travelling to the same place as you.

Venice

One tip I learned from visiting my sister in her temporary home in Southern France is: adapt as much as you can to their culture. If in France, make sure to enjoy a baguette, crepe or croissant at least twice a day.  If in Rome, do as the Romans do, and drink from public water fountains which resemble bath tubs.  Overall, if in Europe, be sure to enjoy gelato every day; it will never get old. Learning the day to day customs of each country not only make you feel more authentic, but also give allow you to blend in more as a local, and not so much a tourist.  The most important advice is, never rush, try to eliminate any kind of schedule, and do things on your own time.  The best kept secrets are often found unannounced. Getting lost on the streets of Montmartre, a neighborhood in Paris was one of the highlights of my trip.

sister

Countdown ’til Summer

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Spring break is over, and summer is around the corner, but not so fast… there is still one more round of finals to take before the beach days, barbecues, and baseball games are in full effect. Perhaps you took a trip with your friends to a place with endless sun and clear blue oceans, maybe you volunteered your time and participated in an alternative spring break, but most likely you lounged around your house with your family and caught up with your friends back home. Regardless of how you spent your spring break, the reality is that you’re back on campus, and there’s only a few weeks left of the semester which means one thing: crunch time!

First thing‘s first. Don’t Procrastinate! You’ve heard it from your professors, your RA and naturally, your parents. If it wasn’t so common to see the library jam packed at midnight during finals week, it wouldn’t be such a reoccurring statement. We get it, you have 4 months to complete something, so you put it off thinking you’ll get back to it, the problem is you never do! A helpful suggestion to keep you organized is a To-Do list. There is no better feeling then getting something done and crossing it off your list. Utilize your professor’s office hours, and take advantage of study groups.  Sometimes you retain more information when it isn’t being delivered by a demanding professor. Get ahead & stay ahead!

Studying may not be the most entertaining part of college, but setting aside a time when both you and your roommate buckle down and drill into the books could end up being productive.  Come up with a plan, and upon completion, grab fro-yo as a treat! Don’t forget: a reward is always good motivation.

It’s always a great feeling opening that email notification saying you have a package from home. OCM is committed to making sure students feel the love on campus from their family. We have recently added healthy option care packages; so if you’re gluten free, vegan, or dedicated to working out, we have a package especially for you. There are plenty of treats in each pack, so be sure to share with your roommate! We love to hear feedback as well, so if there is something you wish was in your care package, let us know! Hard works always deserves compensation!

 Spirit Pack