Studying abroad presents quite an enriching experience that offers the opportunity to immerse oneself in a new culture, broaden cultural awareness, and meet new people. However, along with this experience follows unique challenges, particularly in managing time effectively. Balancing academic commitments can be especially difficult whilst exploring a new environment, going out with friends, and for other personal needs. Therefore, a well-structured schedule with the use of Google calendars or weekly planners can be beneficial in keeping track of deadlines, events, and other commitments.
Prior to my time in Barcelona, I can say with confidence that I was on top of my game and had a firm grip on my responsibilities. However, as the weeks went by, my primary focus was on completing tasks from my internship and hanging out with new friends. The thrill of exploring a new culture and forging new relationships was exciting and often led me to overlook assignments and course-related meetings. In addition, my frequency of communication with friends and family back home continued to lessen. Recognizing these shifts was a moment of realization that while embracing the experiences and opportunities abroad was vital, it was also equally important to maintain a balance.
Addressing these challenges was somewhat tricky at first, mainly because I was already so laid back. However, through consistent effort, I would set aside time for solely academic tasks, allowing me to catch up on assignments and organize deadlines. With a newfound determination, I made clear which tasks to prioritize. Regardless of whether they were tied to my internship or academic course, I made a conscious decision to focus on tasks that were nearing their due dates. Moreover, another method I implemented to optimize my productivity was going to a nearby coffee shop. Having a change of environment allowed me to not only concentrate better but also make significant progress in the completion of my assignments. As a result, my academic responsibilities were much more efficient and this shift allowed me to have a clear consciousness and maintain a sense of balance leaving me with more time to fully immerse myself in the cultural and social aspects of my experience in Barcelona. Moreover, to improve communication with my friends and family, I would set a timer in which both parties found it easy to answer calls; texting consistently and calling at least once a week. Slowly, I reconnected with friends and family back home and found it easier to adjust to my environment when I had a solid support group.
In conclusion, studying abroad offers many benefits beyond the opportunity and experience itself. But, beyond the new experiences is the necessary mindset for mastering time management. Not only just for academic purposes but also for maintaining relationships from back home as well. However, it is also emphasized that studying abroad is not just for achieving academic success but also for personal growth, cultural awareness, and making new relationships and memories. With time management, one can achieve all the aspirations in both academics and personal aspects of studying abroad.