Balancing Work and School while Studying Abroad

-content by Hilary Tucker-

Before I arrived in Europe, I had this idea that abroad would be four months of nonstop traveling, museum tours, meeting new friends, trying new food, and finding fun places to go out at night. I heard that classes were easier and that this was supposed to be “the best semester of college.” While I don’t doubt that this semester has topped all of my previous, I think it is so important to clarify the misconception that when you are abroad, there is no schoolwork.

In my previous blog, I talked about how intellectually stimulating and unique my art history class is. I had never taken anything like it before, and I have been so impressed by the structure of the course and my energetic professor. However, I am still enrolled in two finance courses and an economics course. I was a little surprised at first when I realized I would still be required to complete projects, group assignments, and take exams, as I would if I was in Syracuse.  And so I have found that when I am traveling most weekends (Amsterdam, Italy, Barcelona, Dublin etc….), it is necessary to dedicate time to my studies as well.

Aside from learning about other cultures, languages, museum tours, meeting new people, and trying new food, abroad has taught me a lot about myself – but more importantly how to balance fun and work, even when you have an assignment due Monday and you booked a last minute trip to the South of France with your best friends.

I believe everyone in my program has been encouraged to establish priorities. Schoolwork still exists abroad, and while the classes are different than those at Syracuse, it is still important to do well. We have found ways to explore and do all of the things on our abroad lists, and make time to study at cafes or in our home stays. I know studying abroad has taught me to be more organized and conscious of my time management skills.

There is no need to worry, everyone figures out how to balance it all. My best advice is to get your work done early on in the week, so you can enjoy all that surrounds you!


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