The biggest challenge that I faced during my time studying abroad in Sydney, Australia was definitely time management. It is difficult being in your home country and trying to effectively manage your time between work, whether that be an internship or a part time job, and the classes you are enrolled in; but doing the same thing in a different country is on a whole new level of difficult. It is extremely important to do well in your classes as well as at your internship placement if you decide to do an internship abroad, but I felt like I personally grew the most while exploring Sydney and the rest of Australia. I think travelling and gaining new experiences is the best way to gain soft skills that can be used in the future whether that be a future job, graduate school, or just life in general, and I wanted to remember my study abroad experience as more than just going to class and working at my internship.
I encountered this time management problem many times over the course of the four month study abroad program. There is just so much to do in Sydney and I did not want to miss out on any of it. I found that the best way I could better manage my time was to spend most of my free time during the week doing school work to get ahead in my classes, and then have my weekends free so I can take short day trips to cool places like the Royal National Park and Watson’s Bay. I also made sure to block out my schedule with different tasks on my planner. These tasks ranged from making sure I had enough time to do chores like laundry and cleaning, to school work, to making sure I stayed somewhat active by going to the gym. From the time management challenge that I encountered numerous times, I learned how important it is to effectively manage my time. This is a quality that I can for sure bring back to my last two semesters at Pitt and beyond at future job positions.
Poor time management can affect anyone, but it can easily affect those planning on studying abroad for a summer, a semester, or longer. If you are planning on studying abroad, I recommend that you try to plan out as much as possible even before you the semester abroad even starts. Your semester abroad will most likely be the best semester of your college career (it has definitely been mine), so make sure to make the most of it! This way, you have some sort of a plan on what the best things to do are and where the best places are to go and when to go! There will be factors that might affect your planning when you get there like weather, but if you plan ahead to the best of your ability, you will definitely be ahead of the curve in regards to any time management challenges!