How to Make the Most of Your Experience
Guest author, Seph Anderson, is the creator of the viral TikTok account College Freshman Focus and an expert in helping college students realize and achieve their wildest dreams.
By Seph Anderson
Why did you decide to participate in a first-year program abroad?
Really think about that question. Aside from the idea of simply doing something different between high school and college, why did you choose to participate in a first-year program abroad? Do you know?
FIND YOUR “WHY”
Were you feeling burned out from school and wanting a break before beginning college? Was there something you felt you needed to work on or improve personally? Your answer may be simple or incredibly complex. However, the only thing that matters is that you know why.
Realizing the context, factors, and rationale behind your decision can help give you a stronger sense of purpose during your time abroad. Let your “why” drive your experience.
UNDERSTAND YOUR “WHAT”
Once you’ve defined your why, it’s time to focus on your “what.” Specifically, what you want to accomplish during your program. To get the most out of your experience, you need to be an active participant. While you can be a passive participant, merely following Verto’s direction during your program, you won’t get everything you could out of it.
Do you want to practice speaking in the native language? Do you want to visit certain famous landmarks? Do you want to experience different types of local music? Do you want to travel to nearby areas with other students during your free time? Do you want to develop local business connections to grow a professional network?
What do you want to achieve?
Take your answers and convert them into goals.
For instance, if you want to soak up the local art scene, don’t just hope to achieve your goal.
Be intentional. Research and develop a list of exactly what you want to see while you’re there.
Decide what you want and set goals. Don’t leave things to chance.
Between everything the Verto team has planned for your program and all you’ll find to see and do in your host country, there will always be something going on. And while that’s great, it doesn’t mean you can’t check off a few boxes on your personal goal list while you’re there. The key is knowing your goals before you go and being intentional with your time while you’re there.
HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
When you’re on the plane flying home at the end of your program, and you close your eyes and begin to reflect on the experience… Will you have accomplished everything you hoped you would?
Commit the time and energy to define your “why” and discover your “what” in the months ahead of your big adventure abroad. Do that and you’ll close your eyes on the flight home, doze off to lifelong memories and leave no regrets behind as you fly away.