Study U Abroad


Heading abroad this fall? Over J-term? Next summer? Check out Alex Smith’s Study U Abroad: The 5 Keys to Unlock Your Awesomeness and Transform Your World. The book empowers students to stretch beyond their comfort zones and seize the opportunity for self-growth while abroad.

While the entire book is filled with suggestions and strategies designed to make your time abroad richer and more rewarding, one particular sentence caught our attention:

If you’re caught up thinking about what you’re missing back home while touring the Louvre or more concerned about posting pics of the Eiffel Tower to your Facebook page while you’re still standing at its base, are you really in Paris?

Alex’s question points to the importance of being present, fully appreciating the experience you are having and savoring it in real time.

At the Louvre last year I saw a woman walking the galleries with a selfie stick. Her phone was pointed toward the art, but she was looking straight ahead. She barely glanced at the paintings on the wall. She missed the whole thing. I wondered what the High Low Glitter of her trip to the Louvre would have been?

High: Videoed entire Louvre in a few hours.

Low: Phone battery died, could not upload to FB.

Glitter: Didn’t trip while filming.

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. Be there. Soak it in. And from time to time, take a moment to pause and reflect. Study YOU abroad. Record the meaningful moments. Share them with the few who matter most.

Safe, fun, glitter-filled travels.

Alex Smith’s semester in Seville, Spain became the motivation for his leaving the comforts of a corporate job in his native United States to rekindle his love affair with Spain. He currently resides in Malmö, Sweden but has lived and worked in Boston, New York City, Atlanta, Barcelona, and Madrid. He draws on his personal and professional life experiences to help students and expats thrive abroad and back home. Connect with Alex at