One of the perks of studying abroad is the exposure you get to a foreign culture. By now, you’ve probably realized that there is a world of difference between the “city” culture you’re likely to encounter in the area around a university – cosmopolitan, relatively affluent, and more than a little westernized – and the more traditional way of life in the countryside and smaller cities. In many countries – Spain and Italy come to mind – cuisine can vary enormously from one region to the next, and the same dish is often prepared quite differently in neighboring towns. If you don’t take the time to explore this diversity now, you might never have the opportunity to do so again. Chances are, if you have a month or two free of classes, then you can easily spend this time traveling around the country for less than a round trip back home would cost.
Culture change may become as a shock and sometimes, homesickness kicks in, causing you to be vulnerable to look for diversions like alcohol and food addiction. When this happens, you can get self-help programs for addiction to get adjusted in your environment away from home.