The advantages of being a tourist In some quarters, the term "tourist" might be a dirty word, but if you think about it carefully, being a tourist as much as a student while you're away from home will produce great benefits. As a tourist, you see things with fresh eyes. No matter how much is on offer in your hometown -or perhaps you completed your undergrad in a major city like London, Edinburgh , or Belfast- be honest with yourself. After a year, or even a few months, how much did you really take advantage of all that was on offer? A tourist knows they've got limited time available, and schedules in all the hot spots so they can see and do (and Instagram) everything before their flight home.
Student/Tourist tips In many parts of the world, and certainly in most European countries, big discounts are available if you're under 26 or have a valid student card. Take advantage of public transport and visit places away from where you're studying which are more accessible than they would be from home. Listed below are just a few things you can enjoy as a student tourist- starting with discounted Eurostar and Air France tickets. Profitez-en bien!
- Cheaper inter-railing passes
- Discounted museum entry
- Lower prices with Youth Hostelling International
- Discounted flights and travel with STA Travel
Do Your Research While your course and private study will inevitably take up a large chunk of your time, if you've been diligent and ambitious enough to thoroughly research your study abroad option, then put in just a little more effort. TripAdvisor is your new best friend- look at their top picks and perhaps make a short list of achievable things you'd definitely like to see or do while you're in your host country. These could be anything from visiting fantastic beaches to walking fortified city walls. It could even be worth turning up a little early in order to experience the cultural side of the city if you know your course is going to be very intense. Don't forget to check expat blogs before you go too- these not only give great tips for free but could even provide a point of contact when you arrive.
What about while I'm there?
So you're in Florence (or Stockholm, or Bogota, or Tuscon) and you're bogged down in work and study. How do you have the time (or money) to be a tourist? There are a few simple things you can do to help get the most out of your time both personally and socially. While it's natural to spend time with others who share your linguistic, cultural, or ethnic background, don't forget to make an effort with locals, and with the language. Take an evening or weekend language class, and attend any cultural event you can. Eat local delicacies. Find out about local holidays and celebrations, and take part as much as possible. Sticking with what you know will lead to regrets when you're back home and employed full time.
Useful links Picking up the local language
Reasons to study abroad
Does studying abroad affect your professional future?