Travel and study don’t always mix easily but with a little innovation and planning you can keep up your studies while sight seeing and exploring on your holidays.
It does take a bit of preparation beforehand to get on track when committing to distance ed or a trip overseas while studying – learn how to stay on track when travelling, and develop strategies to keep on meeting your deadlines.
Know your access websites and passwords
You might think you know them off by heart, you use them all the time right! Well yes, you might be fine but in the unexpected event that jet lag drags you down, lost suitcases distract you or a bout of sea sickness intervenes, have a back up email or synced note handy with a few reminders to support a tired mind.
Many course providers have a ‘Blackboard’ or an online portal system that allows students to have access to all course materials and other relevant study resources. Make sure you confirm that you have access to this portal before you leave, as it can be difficult to sort out any issues from the other side of the world.
Know your assessments timetable
This is a biggie. It’s no use working hard on an assignment that wasn’t even due for another two weeks while completely missing one due tomorrow. Make a study timetable by taking your study load into consideration, recording your study schedule and sticking to it!
Study Timetable Checklist
Make a list of all your responsibilities
Consider everything that you will need to complete during your time away. This will include all due dates, along with a rough estimate of how much time you intend to allocate to each assessment task, to ensure that you will complete it successfully.
Mark down any travel activities
More than likely, you will have booked or preplanned activities or tours for your trip. Mark these all down on a month per page calendar, so you can clearly see what you’ve planned and incorporate study accordingly – it is a holiday too of course!
Clearly mark down due dates
From the first list you made, mark down all due dates for your assignments and assessments in bold, clear writing. Now, these allocated times are where you get down to business – these are your deadlines and you need to meet them no matter what holiday cheer you have been tippling or how inviting the beach looks.
Block your study times
A general rule of thumb for being efficient in your studies is to aim for blocks of study time that are quite substantial in length, such as approximately 2-3 hours at a time. This will help you to really get into the swing of things and help move along productivity. That way, you will get more done, leaving more time to enjoy your trip. However, if you know that you work more efficiently in smaller bursts, then mould your schedule to suit your personal study method; everyone has their own method that works best for them.
Check your internet access options for reliability
It’s a tricky situation being overseas and deciding on Internet options. Some students work with the free cafe WIFI option or studying at the hotel and uploading from a local library. A recommended resource is to invest a portable wireless dongle that you would organise prior to your trip. It is a great option as it is a portable and efficient connection tool. Avoid heavy duty roaming fees by checking options with your network provider before leaving home.
Find a variety of local research options
Make the most of exploring new towns and check out the libraries, town halls and historical societies for facts and ideas to add to your assignments. Learn first hand from locals and explore newspaper articles in the towns you visit. Ask questions, observe, take notes.
Take your writing tools, notebooks, chargers etc
While we can access dictionaries, thesauruses and often textbooks online, you may still need to have a notebook for jotting down ideas and research notes unless you like to record these on your phone or tablet/laptop. Have a few spare pens and post-it notes handy for reflection and indexing.
Schedule in study along with holiday activities
This doesn’t have to mean study takes over your holiday, just that sections of time are put away to focus and keep working on your study goals. Maybe waking up half an hope earlier each morning and hitting the books or planning to study from 3 -5 pm each day.
Eat well, sleep well
It’s a poor holiday where you are sick or tired the whole time and if that’s the case, study will become a struggle on top of that. Keep yourself at the top of your game by getting good sleep, good food and plenty of water.
Use a variety of multimedia options
We can get caught in a rut with study but depending on what subject you are studying, consider incorporating different media into your assignment work. A short video here, a sound file there and a collage of photographs might make the difference between a credit and a distinction for your work and helps you stay interested in your own work.
Take a break – study smart not hard
If you want to study hard on your holidays, give it a red hot go and then let yourself have a rest from it. Learn to study smart – pacing yourself is a better option but not everybody works well in scheduled blocks. If 3AM is your study time, do it. Just make sure that when the sun comes up you get out and explore more than your hotel room desk.
Make it fun!
Study is one way of expanding our minds and travel is another. This chance to combine the two is an opportunity to adapt your study to your present day travel which makes it a real time, hands on experience. Study history in natural history museums, study humanities in markets and at tourist events, understand art from street artists through to the classics and absorb it all viscerally rather than just through books.
There are many more tips you will pick up on the way and other techniques that you will learn to stay on track. These are just the beginning but enjoy your travel and your study time, it really is the best of both worlds.
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