Based on my own experiences in California, but with many possible variations.


1) Getting a random piercing, or a tattoo, or dying your hair a funky colour, for no apparent reason.


It doesn’t even have to have anything to do with where you’re living but pretty much sums up the ‘yolo’ attitude that you acquire when living abroad for a semester.


2) Becoming accustomed to American portion sizes


and having a genuine concern that when you go back home you’ll constantly think they’ve given you the kiddie size at restaurants


3) Wearing flowers in your hair on the beach


and feeling the most cool and fashionable you have ever been since you wore sparkly jeans to the year three disco. You’re basically Beyonce.


4) Completely failing at taking an ‘after dinner walk’ around the block


In England this consists of a pleasant walk through the snicket and across the cricket ground, possibly along to see the crocuses on the stray. In America you’re more likely to end up avoiding people on pledge row having run away from the crazy homeless people who congregate by the church.


5) Getting extortionate levels of FOMO (fear of missing out)


to the extent that you’re rendered into a state of perpetual grumpiness whenever your friends even talk about a party you weren’t at.


6) Walking around in flip flops 24/7, regardless of your outfit


It’s so hot your feet just feel claustrophobic in anything else


7) Letting yourself go a little bit after Spring Break


Why would you spend your last few weeks going to the gym and/or worrying about homework when you could be soaking up the California sunshine at the pool with free ice cream sandwiches?!


8) Making plans at a party and genuinely not knowing the next day whether or not they were serious


You’ve had so many new experiences and said yes to so many opportunities since coming abroad, why should this one be any different?


9) Booking a load of holidays to Disneyland/Hollywood/Orange County but then being so skint that you refuse to buy plastic spoons and end up drinking cereal out of a paper cup for breakfast


Challenge Accepted.


10) Being too scared to stay in a daf hotel so moving into the Frat house across the road when your accommodation contract ends


Brit, meet Keg, Keg, meet the Brits.


Be prepared: Studying abroad will change you. Mostly for the better. And if not? Well, it’s totally worth it.