Here Are My Top 2 Study Abroad Regrets: Don’t Do The Same!

A woman is standing on a bridge overlooking a river, reflecting on her study abroad experiences.

Read my study abroad regrets to find out how you can make your experience better. Studying abroad is an exciting adventure but faces many challenges.

Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience for many people, giving you opportunities for personal growth, cultural immersion, and academic knowledge. While the experience is often highly rewarding, it’s not uncommon for some individuals to have certain challenges or regrets about studying abroad. 

Being away from family, friends, and the comforts of home can lead to feelings of homesickness. Language barriers could cause difficulties in communication, which can sometimes make it harder to form meaningful connections and fully integrate into the local community. 

Although I had some regrets about not being fully prepared (via clothing) and documenting my entire time abroad, I managed to gain valuable experiences and lessons from my travels. It is my desire for every student to have an exceptional experience, so let’s explore the two regrets I have so you won’t make the same mistakes.

This page has affiliate links. I may earn a commission if you click and make a purchase at no cost to you.

Why You Should Study Abroad!

There are many pros and cons to studying abroad but the number one reason is that studying abroad provides an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture. This exposure transforms who you are through global awareness, and enhances your ability to adapt to diverse environments.

Living in a foreign country challenges you to step out of your comfort zone and become more independent. It helps develop valuable life skills such as problem-solving, adaptability, resilience, and cross-cultural communication.

Studying abroad offers the opportunity to travel and explore new destinations. You can visit famous landmarks, historical sites, and natural wonders, and experience the local cuisine and customs. It allows for personal travel adventures and the chance to create lasting memories.

With all of this being said, I have only two study abroad regrets. This is my personal experience and I think it would be a good idea to talk about the two of them today. I don’t think my study abroad regrets would be some you have ever heard before but this could give you some insight into different experiences. 

“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”

A woman standing on a balcony overlooking the ocean.
A woman standing on a wall with a view of a city.

Regret #1- Not Curating A European Capsule Wardrobe

For the first of my study abroad regrets please don’t make fun of me, but I am a SOUTHERN TEXAS GAL and have never truly experienced the seasons of autumn and winter. During my time in Italy, the fall weather was actually Fall (can you believe it!) and it was COLD. For some reason I didn’t think seasons were real, don’t ask me why. But because of this, I did not pack well. 

Combined with the fact that before leaving I was very much in my frugal minimalist stage and only brought around 3 pairs of pants, 5 tops, and 1 long sleeve. I did own a coat however when I left it fit snugly so I opted to not bring it. When I returned home I lost 14 lbs and it fit though! 

What I should have done….

To better prepare for these study abroad regrets, I would have done research on the fashion and materials worn in Europe. I would have put together and spent the money to create a European capsule wardrobe that could get me through 3 months of their autumn rainy and cold weather.

Since I did not read tips for studying abroad in Europe, I ended up buying a University hoodie and wearing it everywhere I went. You can see me in almost every city showing it off. Hey, at least it was always clean! Another item of clothing I struggled with was walking shoes.

I bought new mesh walking shoes for cheap on Amazon. They felt great and did the job however they were my only pair and once they got wet from the rain they started to stink. I washed them but didn’t have enough time to air dry them before my next adventure. So I made the huge mistake of putting them in the dryer. When they came out the shoes were deformed and shrunken. I could no longer wear them.

It was hard for me to find another pair of women’s walking shoes in my style and SIZE. What the heck Italy! Y’all women don’t wear a size 9 (41)! Some of the best places to study abroad in Europe have wet and cold weather, so make sure you research them before going.

A young woman smiling in front of a city in tuscany.
A view of a city in tuscany, italy.

Regret #2- Not Documenting My Time In Small Italian Towns

For the second of my study abroad regrets look at these photos above. The day after taking them, or heck just yesterday before I sat down to write this blog post, I couldn’t tell you where this photo was taken. The thing about studying abroad which I talk about in my post Advantages and Disadvantages of Studying Abroad I let you know that it’s all go, go, go. You visit so many places that you thought you could only dream about.

There are trips you go on independently where you plan the whole thing and pay out of pocket yourself to get there. I did this with my study abroad weekend trips to Switzerland, France, Spain, Ireland, and of course Italy. When you do this you can clearly remember what cities you visited. The memorial experiences you had and the food you tried because you preplanned where and what you’ll be doing.

But then there are group trips that you take with your class. My program took us to a small Italian town/ Village almost every Thursday and we explored the churches, museums, and architecture all around us. This was part of our studies and while we were given notice of where we’d be going we were not told what we would be seeing and doing.

Adjacent to this our program took us on bigger and longer trips to major cities in Italy like Rome, Venice, and Florence. But after a while and 3 long months later, places start to blend in, you start to tune out, and things start feeling overwhelming. My study abroad regret is I had started to get into a mindset of “go to the small cities and enjoy your time but don’t think too much about it”.

My thinking was to save space in my head and storage on my phone for the bigger ticket places like Florence and Rome. The city above is Siena and right before this we had stopped in Perugia and right after we made our way to Florence! (all in one day mind you)

What I should have done…

Seeing 3 cities in a day is a lot but looking back I wish I had taken the time to take it all in no matter how long I had there. These study abroad regrets caused me to miss out on the beautiful towns of Assist, Ravenna, Verona, Ancona, Perugia, and Siena along with San Marino! I wish I had taken more photos, paid more attention, and was present!

A cup of coffee sits on a table in front of a bridge.

Making New Changes!

I’m not sure if these study abroad regrets stem from now 3 years later having a blog where I talk about travel. I do not like having to use photos where I am wearing the same faded hoodie and not-so-cute outfits. They’re also not very Instagram-worthy but I still manage to post some. 

I also think about all the content I could have made on each of the small towns I went to. If only I remembered what I did there and what it looked like. Plus I have no pictures of most of the towns I went to and it makes me sad that I can’t look back at those memories. Being a blogger I use the photos I take to bring back insights of things I can talk about and add in my own extra personal experience to.

I have since learned from these study abroad regrets and now plan my outfits before leaving on any trip. I also take so many photos I had to start paying for storage! But blogging makes me happy and I love a space where I can share my travels and place beautiful pictures along with them.

If you or someone you know is studying abroad soon read my Study Abroad Gift Guide to better prepare them!


Is studying abroad worth it?

Yes, studying abroad is definitely worth it! It offers students the opportunity to experience different cultures, develop global awareness, and expand their education in unique ways.

Studying abroad also gives students an edge over their peers when applying for jobs, since employers value international experience and knowledge.

Additionally, it can provide a gateway into new connections around the world and open up a variety of career options.

Exchange vs Study Abroad?

When deciding between studying abroad or completing an exchange program, there are several factors to consider.

Exchange programs typically involve a shorter stay in another country and are usually less expensive than long-term study abroad programs. However, exchange programs offer more of an immersion experience as students often take classes alongside local students, live with a host family, and become immersed in the culture of the country.

Study abroad programs, on the other hand, may be more beneficial for those who want to earn college credits and gain international experience without leaving their home university. Both exchange and study abroad programs can be a great way to explore the world while gaining valuable educational experiences.

Are people who study abroad more successful?

According to a study by the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), people who study abroad are more likely to be successful in their careers due to increased intercultural skills, global networks, and language fluency. Furthermore, studying abroad also helps students acquire soft skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking that are highly sought after by employers.

Final Thoughts-

Reflecting on my study abroad journey, It’s important to pack the right clothing and fully embrace the charm of smaller towns. As someone with expertise in studying abroad during college, having spent 90 incredible days in Italy, I’ve learned from my mistakes and personal experiences. Planning for your own study abroad trip? Don’t make the same regrets I did! Learn from my experiences and make the most of every moment.

Happy exploring!

Kaylee Janell's signature

Read More About Studying Abroad!

43 Easy Study Abroad Bucket List Items To Do This Year!

43 Best Study Abroad Gifts For Students

Here Are My Top 2 Study Abroad Regrets: Don’t Do The Same!

6 Ultimate Study Abroad Weekend Trips On A Budget!

The Surprisingly Top 6 Studying Abroad Pros And Cons

How To Prepare For Study Abroad (Includes Checklist)

Best 15 Tips For Studying Abroad In Europe

The Best 50 Inspiring Quotes About Studying Abroad!

The Best Places In Europe To Study Abroad: Told By Students!

PS. If you found this post helpful, please share it to Pinterest! You can use either of the images below for easy pinning!

Studying Abroad; my top 2 regrets and how to dodge them

What Are My Recommended Resources For Planning A Trip?

When planning my trip, I use my trusted trio of CheapOair, Viator, and to provide a comprehensive solution for everything I need.

CheapOair is a go-to resource for affordable flight tickets. With its extensive network of over 600 airlines, it offers a wide array of choices, enabling you to easily compare prices and select the best deal that suits your budget and travel schedule.

Viator on the other hand, is an excellent platform for booking tours and activities. It provides access to thousands of sightseeing tours, attractions, and events in over 1,500 locations worldwide. It ensures you don’t miss out on the unique experiences each destination has to offer. is your reliable partner for accommodations. With over 28 million listings including hotels, apartments, and hostels, you can find the perfect place to stay that fits your budget and preference.

Together, these platforms make trip planning convenient, cost-effective, and fun. They ensure you have everything you need, from flights and accommodations to activities – at your fingertips.

Check Out My Resources Page For All My Recommended Travel Tools!


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *