How to combine Studies with Travels? Part 1

Studying, Travelling and Enjoying at the same time? Sounds like a dream. I can tell you it is possible. You don’t need to wait for finishing your studies, to get a job and then finally travel when you are already retired and sadly, tired. You should enjoy your youth, have a good time, without forgetting that studying and career are priorities. How to do that?

What you need is hard work and the attitude of not giving up, a sort of fire in your belly, the desire to live not to survive. After living the first 15 years of my life in Italy, my country of origin, being lucky (it took me a while realizing that it was a lucky thing) to be born in a family of cultural contrasts (Italian dad, Russian mother; divorced) that made me grow faster than I would have and that gave me the opportunity to travel, I decided it was time for me to fly, alone. Aged 16, with some problems behind me, not very happy with my situation at the time, I had the opportunity to go studying in the UK. I took it. I worked hard for it. My English grades were great at my Italian school but understanding the British accent, trying to get the meaning out of that chewed way of speaking and trying to be understood in my tentative English was pretty difficult. On top of it, since I am very ambitious, I was studying the IB Diploma (if you don’t know what it is, go and check out all the blogs by desperate students trying to find measures to pass the exams, you’ll understand the struggle) and taking up some pretty hard subjects like HL Chemistry, HL Maths, HL Biology and HL English and Literature (yes 4 HLs!).

I like to say that it was my springboard. I finalized the IB, survived college life, putting on uniforms, respecting strict time-tables, accommodating to live with 60 girls in the same house… I managed it.  I did not know what I wanted to do, I would change ideas daily. How hard is it to decide about your future when you are so young? I did not know what I wanted to study, nor where. At the end I took the “easy path”, I would study engineering like my parents. Deep down I knew I would have loved studying something different, related to literature, writing and creativity, but, hey I had to think about my future. A very common mistake. We build our future, through our passions. Through our hard work and drive. Anything can be done, but I did not know that and I did not have the necessary confidence in myself to take such a decision.

I did not want to stay in the UK, I wanted to try something new. It sounds very trivial but I literally just Googled “Engineering Bachelor in English Europe”. It took me a while, I am not gonna lie. Then I started dividing it for countries (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden). And then I found it, a university in Sweden that fitted my requirements (and for free!)

So I started this new adventure, setting up living in Sweden. Found a student apartment, living with 10 other people, sharing two toilets, two showers, and a kitchen. I was not ready for Swedish winter and darkness but I survived that too! The university gave me the opportunity to study abroad three times. Most of my classmates did not use not even one of these opportunities. So once again, maybe I was lucky, maybe I really had good grades but, off I went, abroad. Sometimes things just go as you want because you have the right attitude, and that happened to me.

Stay tuned on more information about how to do the same yourself!

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