How to Master Time Management When Studying Abroad 

Mar 14, 2019 10:30:00 AM / by Imani Wilson

Now that’s she’s been in Shanghai for a few weeks, CAPA Blogger Imani Wilson is learning a thing or two about the time management skills you will gain (out of necessity) while studying abroad. In this blog she shares some tips and anecdotes for mastering time management while abroad to ensure you can make the most of your experience!

JumpingMe exploring Shanghai (and taking a break to jump for a photo)!

Time management is very useful. Especially when traveling to different countries to study abroad. Using time wisely is very important during the school year; however, it’s hard to do that when there is so much to do, explore, and learn on your own. These are some things I do to help me with balancing between school and using my own time:

Get Up Early!

Sleep TrackerI use the bedtime feature on my iPhone to make sure I get enough sleep and wake up on time!

I am not a morning person and I use anything to help myself wake up. For example, being jet-lagged was actually really helpful for me because I would wake up around 4AM or 6AM. I would be able to get a lot of things done before our CAPA activities. I would FaceTime my mom and friends. I could also write my blogs, exercise, and eat breakfast. This experience made me really like waking up in the morning. I have much more time to relax.

Develop a Good Routine

Cheesy FoodMaking room in your schedule to try all new food is important!

It’s difficult to make a schedule and stay on it. For instance, there were a lot of days when I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, I must remind myself that I’m in Shanghai and I can’t just lay around when there is a gorgeous city to be explored outside and so many people to meet. Some days I would go to the park with a friend. Other days I would plan to do nothing. It’s important to make room for naps, meals, breaks, and sleep.

Set Alarms for Everything

I was late to my Issues in Contemporary Chinese Society class because I didn’t set an alarm. It was my first class and I missed all the information about turning in homework and how the class will be taught. I’m never doing that again. Make a plan for the day and don’t forget it. If you change your mind at the last minute, it’s fine, but at least you won’t forget.

Prioritize What You Want Do

Imani at the BundI made sure to visit the Bund before classes started.

Which event is more important? Which event will fit in the budget? Which event can you do at another time? I had a hard time trying to pick what I wanted to do first in Shanghai. I knew that as classes started, school work will always come second, behind my health. So, I had to do everything I was longing for before classes started. Eating hot pot with friends, going to the Bund, learning how to ride a skateboard, buy my food and snacks, and lastly meet a lot of new people.

Make Your Health One of Those Priorities

Traveling can be hard on your immune system, and like every other college campus, sickness spreads when you’re abroad. Recently a few of my friends have gotten sick. It’s important to spend extra effort to stay healthy so that you’re able to do everything else that you want to do in the limited time you have.

Friend with BlossomsMake time to explore and document your time in this beautiful city!

Studying abroad really helps you to get to know yourself. You need to figure out what you want and what your goals are in order to live comfortably while abroad. Standing by yourself is really important because you are the most reliable person for yourself.

Thanks, Imani!

Imani Wilson


Imani Wilson is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2019, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Mathematics major at Hood College, she is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.

Imani's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Shanghai Program

Topics: International Education, Shanghai, China