You've made your decision and you're going abroad- congratulations! We couldn't be more excited for you. Living abroad for a semester or even an entire year may sound daunting at first, however this time overseas is extremely beneficial for you personally, professionally, and academically. In hopes of maximizing your time overseas, the Study Abroad Office has created weekly challenges of small activities to get you out and exploring the community around you. As you decide to partake in our weekly challenges don't forget to document your adventures by blogging, taking photos/videos, or emailing us. With your permission we would love to feature your work on either our CSULB Going Global Blog or through various social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). Are you up for the challenge?
Week 1 – Attend a school curated event (dance/concert/ social/ sports game etc).
This is a great way to get your feet wet with your new surroundings. Plugging into your university will get you familiar with people you’ll be with for the next semester/year, help you make new and important contacts, and is a great confidence boost.
Week 2 – Join a club, organization, or sport.
Joining a club or sport is another great way of getting involved in your community. Whether it be with your university or locally, this experience will help you make this new place a home and give you something aside from classes to look forward to!
Week 3 – Go sightseeing and take a photo at every new landmark you visit while wearing CSULB gear!
Let’s face it, everyone is a tourist at some point during their travels. Be a tourist and represent CSULB while you’re snapping those selfies. This is a great opportunity for you to get some photos for our yearly photo contest of 49 Pride abroad!
Week 4 – Make a friend who is a local.
When you make friends with a local, you’re in! They will teach you all of the hip places to go, new slang, and how to get around most efficiently. This is one of the best ways to start becoming a local yourself.
Week 5 – Make a friend who is from a country other than your own and the one you’re studying in.
Broaden your social circle and make your friend group truly international. This is also a great opportunity to make a connection in another country, so that when you’re traveling to new places you’ll know a person or two. Plus you’ll be doubling your cultural experience!
Week 6 – Snap a photo with a stranger.
While you’re riding on the tram or walking down the street try striking up a conversation with a stranger and take a picture with them to capture the moment. You never know who you may end up meeting… could be your next new friend or perhaps just a great chat! Constantly try and push the boundaries of your comfort zone.
Week 7 – Walk the city and get lost!
One of the best ways to get to know your city is by foot and getting lost in it. Let the cobblestone alleys, or the gleaming buildings capture you and lead you through the streets. You’ll come to find new hang out spots, favorite cafes, and hidden gems that will make getting lost your new hobby. Just make sure you have some comfy shoes.
Week 8 – Take a weekend trip to a different city (or country).
You’re in a new place and everything seems different and exciting! Well keep that feeling alive and travel to some different and exciting new cities or countries that are around you. The more international experiences you have the better. With each trip you take you learn more about the world around you and the people living in it.
Week 9 – Do something you wouldn’t or can’t do at home.
Whether it may be taking a local painting class on the side of a canal in Venice or climbing Mt. Fuji in Japan, try doing something that would be impossible to do at home. Let your study abroad self be as adventurous as can be.
Week 10 – Pretend to be a local for the night.
After your trips away to new places, returning to your city will start to feel as though you are returning home. With this week’s challenge go out like a local: hit those ‘off the beaten track’ places, away from all the tourists, and hang out with everyone who also calls this place home. If you can even speak the local language do it! Perhaps people won’t second guess where you’re actually from!
Week 11 – Attend a cultural ceremony (i.e. wedding, birthday, anniversary, funeral, religious service).
Every country is unique, and every country has its own traditions.It is a special experience to participate in these events so make it part of your experience abroad. This could very well end up one of your highlight moments of the trip.
Week 12 – Learn how to cook the food of the culture you are in.
Eating your way through the world is the way to go. There are few things as important to a society as food. Before you head home try and capture some of this culture and take it with you by learning to cook the way the people do. Use this week’s challenge to ask your local friends about favorite recipes or even take a cooking class!
Week 13 – Indulge in the most traditional or craziest dish of the country.
Perhaps you've now tried authentic sushi in Tokyo or sipped on the finest cappuccino Paris had to offer, try to push the limits and try the craziest or most traditional dish the country as to offer. You never know what you will end up liking... in Peru their national dish is a tasty serving of guinea pig!
Week 14 –Job shadow someone in your field.
Job shadowing someone or even inquiring to a company about their work is an excellent way to get a feel for your industry internationally! You can see how things function in your field in a completely different culture and environment. Take note of all the similarities and differences you may find and use those as further personal development in this area.
Week 15 – Update your resume/ LinkedIn
Through the fun and excitement of studying abroad, don’t forget about the role academics play in the experience. You can use the skills you learned abroad on your resume, LinkedIn, and portfolios. Having international experience makes you even more competitive in the marketplace.
Week 16 - Take a snap of you in your most cherished place in the city.
The semester is almost up and the nostalgia is already beginning to set in. For this final challenge go out to your favorite city and take a photo of you doing your thing there. Whether you favorite place is the Wiener Staatsoper or perhaps just a park bench, try and capture that moment.
Safe travels and keep us updated!
CSULB Study Abroad Office