Study Abroad To Don’t List

Don’t live with a host family. Yeah, you might immerse yourself in the culture, have your “mom” cook you authentic meals, get your laundry done, blah blah blah, but that’s only the beginning. Sometimes you just want to drink a mug of whisky at 2PM wearing only a duvet cover without your Señora asking questions. You also can’t bring home one-night stands with names like Thibaud, Axel, and Kristofferson to the twin sized bunk bed you share with a chaste Japanese student. For every one story of an amazing family and true bonding, I’ve heard fifty more of hot water rationing, paltry meals, and being called racial slurs to your face while completing a list of chores.

Don’t behave in any kind of normal, “not-abroad” manner. Studying abroad is like freshman year of college all over again. Everyone is nervous, out of his or her element, and really eager to make new friends. The only difference is that in three months/one year you’ll be back at your state school in the U.S. and the majority of these relationships will be more fleeting than the Spanish past perfect subjunctive. So let your freak flag fly. The euro-version of you can partake in any of the following activities without them ever tarnishing your domestic social identity: dressing like a total clown, going to cheesy theme nights at seven story mega-clubs, showering twice a week, drinking wine with every meal, and shamelessly making out with four guys in one night. What happens abroad never makes it through U.S. customs. You will have nothing to declare.

Don’t go to class. Duh. You have more important things to do like sleeping, eating and being a walking cliché.

Don’t forget the most important items. So you’re getting ready to leave and all your mom’s friends tell you to “pack some peanut butter, I heard from my cousin’s sister’s friend that they don’t have that in Europe.” These people are lying to you. Plus, everyone knows Nutella is better anyway. The real gems you want are Nyquil and deodorant. I can guarantee you will get sick, and not the “just a cold” kind either. It turns out chain smoking, clubbing until 6AM and spending your weekends jetting around the EU because “it’s so accessible” are not healthy habits. Screw the foreign pharmacy and cuddle with Nyquil all day. Also, European deodorant is for pussies. It will be roll-on or aerosol and have odor protection appropriate for a seven-year-old girl riding around on a tricycle. All brands will smell like a baby’s freshly powdered nutsack. Pack the hard stuff.

Don’t fall in love. Americans romanticize Europe, and for good reason. As stupid as it sounds, everything abroad is done better when you’re part of a pair. Strolling hand in hand, park bench hookups, lazy Sundays in bed, shared life-changing experiences. Sometimes it’s just too easy to let your life become the movie love child of Sofia Coppola and Jean Luc Godard. But seriously, cut it out! You’re going home, and sooner than you think. You’ll be jaded and your bank account will be empty. You don’t need another thing to quietly weep over during your transatlantic flight. TC mark

image – Wolfgang Staudt


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  • M90999


    • marshall

      thoguht catalog #WhiteGirlProblems

  • GringaProblems

    And have a gym membership waiting for you when you get home…you’ll need it.

    • Soraya


  • Linnea8

    This article is my life right now haha, been “studying” in Sweden for the past 5 months, going home in 2 weeks.

  • Erin

    They really don’t have peanut butter in Russia. Someone’s parents mailed Reese’s peanut butter cups 3 months in and we all flipped shit.

  • Megan

    this is pretty spot-on… euro-me was wack

  • Guest

    Honestly, another To Don’t should be ‘don’t go to Europe.’  South America is much more original and rewarding.

    • Audrey

      or new zealand! :)

      • Gweilo

        Or Hong Kong! (It’s ML China’s slutty sister) 

    • katie

      Or Russia ! <3

    • Suzy_crabgrass

      Or China! There is so much more to studying abroad than Europe. 

  • Tony F.

    i really don’t get the love for Nutella, it’s basically melted chocolate, and not even that good chocolate anyway….

    • Fran

      you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about….. :p

      • A-W

        No smiley face. Tony doesn’t deserve one.

    • Gregory Costa

      Somebody doesn’t love happiness in a jar.  That, or you dislike hazlenut. 

      • Tony F.

        eh, happiness is overrated

  • kath

    If you do any of this you are no better than the fat midwestern tourists that refuse to learn anything about their vacation spot other than where the stuff on postcards is located

    • OMG

      categorizing every tourist as a fat midwestern is not accurate

      there are plenty of tourists from all parts of america that make an embarrassment of themselves..

      i definitely seen kids from NY do it all the time. 

  • Soraya

    “study” in europe, come back with a chain smoking addiction (and a penchant for scandinavian boys)

    • Stefan

      woops and woops. working on fixing the first one but I don’t think the second will ever go away (and I don’t want it to.)

  • Anonymous

  • Ccm82007

    this is absurdly true

  • Emily Wagman

    This is so insanely accurate it’s not funny.

  • Whatever

    way to waste a semester abroad. do what you want, not what some ezine article is telling you how you should study abroad. 

  • Steph

    you totally went to madrid, didn’t you?

    • Edward

      HAD TO be Madrid.

    • Matt

      “7 story mega clubs”  must be Kapital! haha

  • James

    Wow this list is terrible.  If you want to run away to a different country (on your parents’ dime like the author of this post), not make a concerted effort to learn everything you can about the culture inside and outside a classroom setting, and just generally fuck around…then I’d suggest following her advice.

    Grow up.

    • Vic

      I went abroad, on my own dime, and did most of these things, on my own dime, while still going to class and learning, and learned even more about myself. so how about you take the time to have an out-of-the-norm experience before judging someone?

      • sam

        but the difference is, this author said to not go to class.

    • Guest

      So… where in this article did the author say her parents paid for everything? Whether or not they did, you can’t use that as part of you’re whine-y argument if it’s never mentioned. And why take offense from an article that’s really only meant to entertain? It was clever and relatable  to almost any study abroad student from the states… I think whoever follows it to a T would be a creepy exception. 

    • Kelli Nastasi

      Haters gonna hate.

  • Xav

    It’s supposed to be funny… satirize the study abroad experience. Chill with this ugly American bullshit about not getting “immersed” in the culture of your host country. ‘Cause, you know,  6 months living in a college dorm, taking classes taught in English and going on “field trips” to local tourist sites  is totally going to give you a deeper understanding of a culture.

    • Jimbo

      Fuck you dude. Any new experience teaches you something. Its just closed-mided fart nuggets like you who are too fucking stupid to learn anything from it.

      • guest

        It’s obviously done wonders in turning you into a respectable world citizen.


      • sam

        oh my, he said “dude!” what an uncouth, uncivilized specimen.

      • fart nugget

        OMG, am I the only one who read “fart nuggets” and laughed for a solid minute???

      • Ems

        “close-minded fart nuggets”

        can we be friends?

  • Joe Ott

    Erudite satire on the timeless awesomely american vibe that you can only realize to its fullest potential amongst non-anglo foreigners. To maximize your potential for this type of experience, you should travel in small groups of americana, so as to better allow euros to laugh and lust at you in their charmingly entitled way. Be respectfully american, which really means drunk and obnoxious, but should ideally never, ever manifest itself in any form of patriotism, which is never vogue for you but always for them. Que fucking bueno to this article, que fucking bueno.

  • Sophia

    ohhh the last one. so sadly true :(

  • juanito

    lollll I see sooooooo many people who have never heard of satire before…..

  • Ellen

    HA. Yes. Although I mean, if you go to a city like Beijing (where I am) you can’t even avoid the culture, differences, and language learning opportunities if you wanted to (not that I want to). But some of my best use of Chinese has been drunk in a bar, or convincing the security guard at my dorm that no, I haven’t returned home too late at night, and yes I have class tomorrow but if I drink coffee it’ll be okay. But I’m super stoked for the next 2 months, when I’ll be visiting Seoul and having a little trip around Vietnam. Asia is super neat, and a bit more of a mindfuck for a study abroad than say France (where I did an exchange for a month).

  • Marissa L.

    hahahaha This is accurate! 

    I was in Germany earlier this year. It was a great time, mind you, but certainly not the “greatest experience of my life” like my US teachers and friends told me it would be (which I totally didn’t expect it to be, anyway).

    Either way, I found this article to be funny and entertaining. I easily relate to all of the points mentioned. Easily. 

    • Doing It Wrong

      you’re doing it wrong

    • Guest

      why wasn’t it the ‘greatest experience’ of your life? were there some bad things? or was it simply just a fun time?
      i’m intrigued as i’m going to the us in my 2nd year and i’m at uni in london

  • Anonymous

  • Cherono

    Something to weep over during a transatlantic flight. Sadly so true

  • Asdf

    “So let your freak flag fly. The euro-version of you can partake in any of the following activities without them ever tarnishing your domestic social identity … What happens abroad never makes it through U. S. customs. You will have nothing to declare.”

    Facebook begs to differ.

  • D Rudd05

    New to-do list:

    1. Year abroad in France/UK.
    2. Drink all your money away and fall in love.
    3. Chase jobs and love across France, Spain, Morrocco and England.
    4. End up in London 3 girlfriends later.
    5. Never go back to America.
    6. Enjoy cheap flights to weird countries, free healthcare, friends who have things like ‘favourite books’ and ‘informed opinions.’
    7. Rock out with your cock out to Eurodisco for now until everafter.

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