Living & Studying Abroad Tips by Ruth Kinloch!


Ruth Kinloch
is a content creator at smart.study, a useful website if you’re willing to improve your results at university or are just looking for information about studying abroad. She tells us about her life experiences and how her stay abroad in Italy changed her way of seeing things. Don’t miss her living and studying abroad tips!

  1. What do you like the most of writing? Why did you decide to start?

    I’ve always dreamed of finding my one true calling—a job that I would feel passionate and excited about and never regret spending so much of my time on.
    I started writing when I was still a student. Why did I start? It felt like I had something important to say to the world, I wanted to share all the different tips, ideas, and observations of mine. My first writing sketches were a bit clumsy, but they gave me that unforgettable feeling that I was doing something right, something that I should be doing.
    What I like the most about writing is reading the final, polished result of my efforts. Just like any other writer, I sometimes have problems organizing my hectic thoughts–when you know what you want to say but have a hard time putting it into words. There’s nothing bad about it, you just gradually learn to control your thoughts and shape them into a written piece better and better every time. I enjoy the entire writing process, but the best part of it for me is seeing how I managed to tame my ideas and get a refined article that people will like and want to share with others.

    Pisa building

    Pisa. Source: Ruth Kinloch

  2. Would you recommend studying abroad?

    As someone who has first-hand experience studying abroad, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants positive changes in their life. It’s important to understand that nothing comes to us unless we work to achieve it. Choosing a peaceful student life in your local college might save your resources and efforts, but it won’t bring you as many benefits that a study abroad program can bring. Going abroad not only changes you as a person, but also reshapes your views, values, and outlook on life.
    Based on my experience of studying in Florence, I would say that being an international student has many advantages: you get to try a different approach to education, improve your foreign language proficiency, see the world, immerse into a foreign culture, find new friends and interests, and get excellent career opportunities. And it’s just a small part of what you may miss if you don’t use this unique opportunity. So, my advice is to go for it!

  3. What type of accommodation did you choose when living in Italy? How was your experience?

    Finding accommodation was at the top of my list of things to figure out before going abroad. I was going to Florence with a friend of mine, so we were looking for a place to live together. I signed up for Beroomers and found a very nice small apartment near our university campus.
    Sharing a place with a friend was a good decision since we could share the household chores and help each other study. It was also nice to walk around the city after classes with her, as well as travel to other Italian cities and even different countries. Sharing an apartment with someone is always convenient (in case you get along with your roommate, of course). It helps to save money and adapt to the new environment faster.
    These days it’s also easy to find a flatmate online, and if you share your place with someone local, it’s also a great chance to practice the language you’re learning.

    Milan gallery

    Milan Gallery. Source: Ruth Kinloch

  4. What are the biggest challenges you have faced when living abroad?

    I prepared myself for studying abroad in order not to be disappointed if something went wrong. Reading about the Italian lifestyle, culture, mentality, and traditions helped me adapt more or less quickly as soon as I found myself there. But there are always things you can’t predict until you face them.
    The biggest challenges I had to deal with were overcoming the language barrier and feeling like an “outsider” in the beginning. Being an extrovert served me well there. It took me less than two weeks to adjust, improve my Italian, and find new friends in college, but of course, it doesn’t mean you have to be extremely outgoing to have a good time. You just need to stay flexible about your adventure.
    Several things still surprised me during my stay in Italy. To meet their friends, Italians just gather on the streets of their city, which is not as common in the States. There are no big TV screens in cafes or restaurants—people in Italy enjoy their food and company without any additional entertainment needed. Meal portion sizes are also considerably smaller in Italy.

    Ruth Kinloch

    Ruth Kinloch. Source: Ruth Kinloch

  5. What tips would you give someone who is moving abroad to a new country?

    My main tip would be to keep in mind that dealing with challenges and problems is an essential part of studying abroad, so embrace the challenges you face because solving them will help you grow.

    Apart from that, I’d recommend the following.

    • Find out as much as possible about the country/city you’re leaving for in advance.
    • Forget about your native language, you’ll start speaking your host country language much faster this way.
    • Stop enjoying your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to try different new and unusual things every day—get the most out of your trip!
    • Forget about your phone, don’t chase Wi-Fi to keep posting tons of photos, locations, and statuses. Perceive things with your eyes, not your screen. Feel, taste, try, smell, and post it in your memory instead of social media.
    • Write your feelings down in a journal. You’ll be so happy to find it and read it again years after.
    • Take any opportunity to explore new things. You are more likely to regret the things you didn’t do, than the ones you did do.
    • Find time for your studies!

    Studying abroad in Milan

Milan Duomo. Source: Ruth Kinloch

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