During Program


Anticipate campus culture to be different than that of SMU. Things like attendance policies, grading scales, course structure, and teaching styles can vary greatly across countries.  Students who take their academics seriously , attend class regularly, and ask for help tend to do very well.

Always keep the "study" in study abroad and remember that absences, negative attitudes, comparisons to U.S. academics, and a "vacation" mindset will make it much harder to be successful. 

  • Talk to your professors if you’re going to miss classwork.
  • Refer to your provider with program questions or concerns –they are your on-the-ground resource.
  • Check your email frequently on program and class updates.
  • Use a daily planner to keep up with assignments.


Adjusting to a new culture while studying abroad can be exciting and challenging. SMU Abroad encourages students to utilize the resources below to get the most out of their study abroad experience. Information on identity, culture shock, and tips for navigating cultural adjustment, can be found here. 

Diversity Abroad - Guides to Living Abroad offers guides by location and aims to increase access to study abroad for all types of students.

IFSA Butler - Unpacked offers a variety of blogs and articles written by students just like you. They cover a range of topics from faith communities, LGBTQ+, race and ethnicity, first generation college students, students with special accommodations, budgeting abroad, etc. 

IES Abroad - Country Specific Diversity Guides offers resources specific to diversity in a particular country on topics such as dietary concerns; race, ethnicity, and national identity; gender and sexuality; religion and spirituality; disability and mental health; and more!


Studying abroad can be full of adventure, but students can become so busy with their classes, social life, and weekend travels, that they quickly wear themselves out. Remember to take a break and practice some self-care for your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. 

After the initial excitement of being abroad wears off, you may have feelings of homesickness, disconnection, or loneliness. Take some "time off" from being a study abroad student and do things that would normally bring you joy back home like binging Netflix.

Consider establishing a routine. A routine gives you structure that can help you through your time abroad For example, if you exercised or practiced meditation regularly at home, try incorporating this into your routine abroad.

Communicating with family and friends at home is important, however having too much contact can actually be counterproductive. Share your experience while abroad, but don’t forget to be present in the moment. Set up a schedule to talk with loved ones back home. It’s important to learn about your new city and make connections with others in your program. Try not to think about what you’re missing out on at home. It will still be there when you get back!

For more tips about self-care, check out IES Abroad's How to Practice Self-Care While Studying Abroad