How to Make the Most of Your Study Abroad Experience

Studying abroad is a unique experience - what can you do to make sure you fully enjoy it?

Studying abroad is an experience that not everyone gets to enjoy, but those who do unerringly describe how beneficial and fun a trip such as this can be. Those older, in work, rarely have an opportunity to move abroad for weeks, or even years; to improve oneself and help others too. It’s vitally important then, if you have this opportunity for yourself, to make the absolute most of it.

With the help of the English Language Institute at the University of Utah, we are taking a look at how best to make use of your time studying abroad.

Share Your Experience

Students at the English Language Institute

There is a certain line of thinking that when one goes on holiday or a personal business trip, that that time is theirs, that to take photos or tell stories about it is to somehow distill the essence of it and lose it. I cannot begin to tell you how wrong that type of thinking is.

Your study abroad journey will be multiplied by how much you share it, whether that is sending photos and videos to friends and family back home or going out and finding other students or locals on your journey.

In Utah, for instance, there are opportunities for world-class skiing, exploring national parks and even skydiving! Students at the English Language Institute frequently share these types of experiences with friends and family on social media.

ELI students on a ski trip
The English Language Institute sponsors its students for all sorts of activities

Now, admittedly, just dumping all your experience on Instagram may not be the most rewarding way to do this, so tell people your stories! Try new things and see how you can improve, listen too and see what you can learn during your trip, from people you would never have a chance to speak with otherwise, whether you are living with a host family or interacting with other students that are part of the university campus community.

And of course, if you are studying a language, then all the more reason to practice it while you can!


Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City

Studying and going to classes is obviously an important part of any study abroad trip, as is going out socially and meeting people. But your experience will be enriched if you take in cultural events of the area you are studying in. In Salt Lake City, for example, you can listen to live music in the Red Butte Garden, cheer for the Utah Jazz at a basketball game, or take a short drive to Moab and experience for yourself Utah's famous Delicate Arch.

Delicate Arch, Utah
Delicate Arch, Utah

There’s no sorrier sight than a person on a trip being glued to their phone. Look up as much as you can and take in a culture you may never have the chance to see otherwise.


Students planning

It’s all well and good walking around, sometimes getting lost and occasionally going to the theatre. But to truly get as much as possible out of your study abroad trip, be prepared to do lots of research, seeing what events are on, what things cost, how far things are and the availability of your friends. By doing this beforehand, you can avoid a lot of the heavy costs involved in over travelling, as well as knowing you have the time to enjoy stuff while not missing out on too much else.

Be Engaged

ELI students on a horseback ride in the American West
ELI students on a horseback ride in the American West

We have all been on a trip and fallen into routine. On the first day, your new bedroom is so fresh and the local shops so fascinating, then by the 10th day, it’s become your old bed and you know just where the good bread is kept.

Once the initial shock of exploring a new place and getting to know its rhythms has worn off, it’s important to remind yourself of where you are, how crazy it is you are so far from home and just what you have to gain by being there.

The English Language Institute also takes its students on all sorts of trips and activities, including snowboarding, volleyball, football, horseback riding, rock climbing and much more! So there are plenty of opportunities for fun and to be engaged.


University of Utah student studying

There is perhaps no worse feeling than completing a course and finding you know hardly anything more than you started. When studying abroad, enjoying and exploring is a huge part of that experience, but studying should always remain your primary focus. 

Improving oneself after all, should be the goal of your trip and the most straightforward way of doing that is going to your classes, doing all of your work and thinking about how best you can improve in what you are studying. ELI offers a wide variety of resources that can help you with your studies if you ever need it, such as tutoring sessions and Conversation Mondays, so you can sharpen your vocal skills and develop your English as well as possible. 


When studying abroad, it’s important to study, work hard, explore, make new friends and experience a new culture in an enriching and welcoming setting.

If you are thinking about studying abroad and learning English in particular, contact the English Language Institute below to find out more.