Balancing Studies with Exploring

While the idea of living in another country for a couple of months is very exciting, you are there to study.

When I was leaving for Rome my parents kept repeating to me, “Don’t let your grades drop. You are there to study.”

As I talked about in An Introduction to Studying Abroad…It Can Be Scary, it can be difficult to find the balance between studying while you are abroad and exploring your new home. By the end of the semester, I had a plan set out so that I could explore, while also keeping my grades up.

And if you follow this plan, trust me it will work. My parents were very happy when I got As in all of my classes, while also traveling around Italy and to five different countries.

Step One: Stay Organized

It can be easy to forget about the paper you have due next week when you’re walking around Saint Peter’s Basilica, but it is still due next week. Keep a planner and keep your calendar organized!


I was most definitely not worrying about what I had to do for the week ahead when I visited Saint Peter’s Basilica.

If you plan for things in advance you won’t have to worry about them later. I suggest buying a planner before you leave so that you have everything together. Check out the link below:

Weekly and Monthly Planner

Step Two: Set Time to Study

When I was abroad, I knew that I wanted to travel every possible weekend. To make sure that I fully enjoyed my travels, I would spend most of my weekdays in the library.

Most of the students I studied with joked about me always being in the library. If I wasn’t in class from Monday-Thursday, then I was in the library studying and doing my homework.

My trips were much more enjoyable when I didn’t have to worry about my papers and midterms. I also wasn’t cramming everything the night before because my work had already been finished.


When I visited the Duomo in Florence, I could fully enjoy the experience and have fun, while my friends were worried about the Theology reading for Monday.

While many of my fellow students spent trips writing papers or going crazy over the midterm they had due on Monday, I was secure in knowing my work was done. My exploring was all the better because of my hard work during the week.

To make sure that you keep up with your studying and goals, a great idea would be to buy goal tracker sheets. Check out the link below:

Daily Intention Tracker

While during the week you may want to go out, take advantage of the opportunities your classes provide instead.

Step Three: Take Advantage of Your Excursions

Most classes in Rome will have excursions. These excursions are all around Rome and will provide on-sight learning so take advantage of the AMAZING places you get to go.

My Italian film class went to Cinecitta, my Roman Art and Architecture class went to the Capitoline museums, and through my Theology class I saw so many different basilicas. While I was learning during each of these excursions, I was also exploring the city.


These excursions also provide opportunities to go off of the beaten path and see things that most tourists don’t visit. These excursions will provide you with a more in-depth look into the life and culture of Rome.

At times I found studying very annoying when I knew that my friends were going to an Italian opera or were going out to dinner that night, but in the end my weekend travels were so much more enjoyable and I took advantage of every opportunity outside of the classroom.

If you plan, set time to study, and take advantage of your excursions, your grades won’t suffer from exploring the magnificence of Rome.

Ciao belli!


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