My life at my home school is busy— the kind of busy where the days fly by and sleep is minimal. It’s unhealthy really. Far too often I wish for a chance to start over, an opportunity to commit to less on the front end.

Ever felt that way?

Well, now we’re here, studying in a new country. We have a new schedule, a new school, new friends, a new city, new opportunities, new classes, and a new house. It’s almost too good to be true, but before we know it, the opportunities start to come at us from every direction—

Come to my dance class.
Join the drawing club.
You need to meet locals.
Make sure you travel every weekend.
Dont forget to volunteer.
Start a blog.
Post pictures.
Skype your mom, your dad, your uncle, your cousin
Study plenty.
Go out and enjoy yourself.

These are all GREAT things, but are they all necessary for you to have a GREAT study abroad experience?

To choose our opportunities carefully, we need to know what we really want. Here is my challenge to you, make a list of your top 3 goals for your study abroad experience. Allow those goals to be your decision filter.

For example, here are mine:

  1. Learn Spanish
  2. Experience the culture
  3. Serve

So if someone asks me to join the drawing club, instead of jumping up with my usual yes, rather, I will take a moment to filter it through my goals:

Will this help me learn Spanish, experience this culture or serve?

Have you ever seen a movie that is all over the place— with new story lines and characters popping up in every direction?
When you say yes to everything, your semester abroad will be just that. A story that flies by without ever forming a real theme.
If you choose your opportunities based on the story you want your experience to tell, everything starts to fit together, in the end resulting in a truly satisfying, pura vida experience.

Saying yes to good things really can end up being a bad thing. So decide what you want out of your study abroad experience, and stick to it. In the end you will be glad you did!

Pura Vida

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