Ouellette finding her inner “balance” between work and fun while studying abroad. (image credit: Solène Rérat)

Studying abroad can be overwhelming, especially with all the opportunities students can take while living in a different country with a new culture for a few months. The SNHU Study Abroad Office and partnering schools help students to learn as much as they can, while also encourage students to get out and explore as well.

While balancing school and fun can be difficult at times, the Study Abroad Office works hard to get their participating students adapted to their schooling abroad. SNHU and the partnering universities ensure all students know what is expected from them throughout their semester or year abroad.

“Students must take a minimum of 12-credits that can transfer directly to their Program Evaluation. The maximum is 15-credits,” according to Scott Snyder, the study abroad advisor. Some countries even offer programs that align with different majors. “Certain Degree-in-Three students can do 18-credits abroad if their major is part of one of the aforementioned custom programs.”

There are some mandatory courses students must take abroad that vary by location. “These usually are language courses, [courses] connected to the local heritage and culture and/or service-learning oriented,” Snyder said. He also explains that even though there are no set programs to help students balance fun and school while abroad, “the topic of balancing fun and school is part of our discussion/reflection with the students.”

Although the Study Abroad Office is a great resource, students who are currently studying abroad also gave insight on how to balance school and fun.

“I have been overwhelmed by the idea of balancing school and fun while being abroad, but I have never been in a situation where I have had to miss out on an opportunity due to schoolwork,” said senior Logan Waterman, who is studying at the University of Limerick in Ireland.

She even explained that at the University of Limerick “there are several clubs open for students to join that plan out weekend adventures,” and she uses those as a way to travel while still being involved with school.

Logan Waterman and Stephanie Anderson enjoy a weekend in Dublin, taking a Viking Splash Tour around the city. (image credit: Logan Waterman)

Junior Brianna Ouellette, a student who just wrapped up her study abroad experience in Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand, has had a different experience. “I have struggled with balancing school and fun… It is hard to balance sometimes because I find my courses very challenging since my professors expect a lot,” Ouellette said. “I have to put in a lot of extra hours to meet my deadlines. It does interfere with my fun at times, but if you spend some time planning around these conflicts, it’s not so bad.”

Currently studying at Florence University of the Arts, senior Breana Diaz finds her schoolwork fun. “I have not struggled to find balance in both at all! Honestly my internship is fun, and I love working it. My classes are interactive and interesting so it’s never hard to have fun in them.”

Although she is not struggling to find a balance while abroad, she did advise that students who either are struggling or are worried about struggling “plan accordingly.”

Ouellette and Waterman had similar advice for students who are interested in studying abroad. “Don’t be worried about balancing school and fun,” Ouellette said. “You can do it. Just focus on timing. Try to plan your adventures around your classes so that the two don’t interfere.”

Waterman’s advice was similar, but when explaining her tactic to balancing school and fun, she said, “I knew after the first few weeks of class when my papers and projects would be due. I planned around these deadlines on when to travel, and when to get started on papers.”

Lastly, Snyder, when asked if he had any advice for students who are still thinking about studying abroad, said, “Studying abroad becomes a personal experience. [It offers students] the unique opportunity to be more responsible of their own choices and ‘to touch the void’ of another kind of freedom.”

To him and the SNHU Study Abroad Office, that is a main reason why students should take the opportunity to study abroad and also have fun while being abroad.

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