For me, there were times during my study abroad experience where it was easy for me to get carried away and forget that I was there to study. Of course I loved the two courses that I was taking, Introduction to Medical Spanish and Contemporary Issues in Public Health in the Yucatan, at the Universidad Autonoma De Yucatan in Merida, Mexico. My professors were both such amazing and kind-hearted people as well. The subject matter and materials for both courses also interested me and it was easy for me to pay attention during class time. One thing about my program though, was that I was always super busy!
Since my program was so short (5 weeks long), almost every day there seemed like there was something planned for me to do. The weekends were always spend on overnight excursions that allowed for no study time and at least 2 of the 5 week days were busy every week. Not to mention the fact that I tried to spend as much time as possible experiencing Merida and the Yucatan whether I was going downtown, out to eat, to the shows, to the beaches, cenotes, shopping, or even just spending time with my host family and friends. The anxiety I felt come the week of finals suddenly hit me as I realized I had to write an essay and study for an exam that were both only a couple of days away.
I questioned, “How am I going to have time to write this paper for one class and study for the exam in the other?!” I thought it would be impossible without staying up all night. Thankfully though, I did have time during the day. My friends and I were all stressing slightly about finals, so we agreed that we would spend a couple of hours right after class in our host houses study and writing everyday before meeting up or going out. It turned out to be a good idea since I was able to finish my paper and sufficiently prepare myself for my exam with time to relax and have fun. The key to managing my time efficiently though, was focus. I sometimes struggled with putting my mind to the task in front of me, and had to remind myself why I was there in the first place. I chose to go on a study abroad because I love learning. I highly value and am passionate about education, and I consider myself blessed to be given the opportunity to study in a different part of the world and learn about topics I consider important. Reminding myself of this, I had no problem focusing and was actually glad to do my school work.