Each chapter in these books entails inspiring and motivating life journeys that you won’t want to miss especially if you are heading abroad for studies!  

No matter where you plan on travelling, there are tons of apps you can use to get the first impression of a place. Say you want to travel to Dublin and want to get to know the reviews of vacationers who have flown and stayed at nice spots in the Irish capital. So you click MakeMyTrip to glance through feedback of tourists and alongside Foursquare some cool nightlife hotspots in the city. However, by browsing virtual experiences of others, you are setting expectations based on the world seen through someone else's lens. And it’s through experiencing things for yourself that a place reveals itself.

These books will help you keep your eyes and heart open and help you foster a connection with your new home, to feel about exploring. Let them be your guide to opening yourself up to all the sights and sounds your new home has to offer, so that you can let it shape you, but never overwhelm you.

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

The Brazilian author tells the tale of a shepherd boy- Santiago- who dreams of visions about a certain personal legend that he must find in a quest. The beautiful elements put together convey how a prophecy sparks inspiration to travel in the young boy’s mind and on his way he crosses path with bitter-sweet experiences. The surprise twist entwines the concept of “home” and “destiny” and this may also make you want to think how studying abroad will impact your perception about the concept of “home” and “destiny”. An interesting read because of how relevant it is for students leaving home to pursue their dream abroad!

The Art of Travel – Alain de Botton

Just as you can expect from this modern-day philosopher, his modern classic on travelling takes a compassionate look at why we have the need for exploration. In Botton’s almost sing-song, relatable and often quite funny narrative, he will help you understand why we have such high expectations of our travels – and how to deal with that little pang of disappointment. A must-read if you’re looking to expand your mind and horizons.

The Buddha of Suburbia- Hanif Kureishi

The writer Hanif takes us on a tour through the lens of Karim - a mixed-race teenager residing in South London born to an Indian father and British mother. The narration follows protagonists life as he moves to central London and chases his true call of becoming an actor. His career paves way for his new found life in the Big Apple and leads him to many more discoveries about himself and how his actions impact everything surrounding him.The Buddha of Suburbia brings up the questions of identity along with the issues of prejudice and racism in 1970s Britain. If you have set your mind for a UK school then this interesting piece will surely boost you with the inspiration you need.

The Beach – Alex Garland

Garland’s cult classic takes a deep look at our obsession with attaining our imagined heaven. It was later made into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but carrying around a battered paperback version of this will definitely score you points. Throughout this pacey novel, characters attempt to reach paradise, and once there, lie back and forget all about the real world. It is tempting to think of your new home as just such a paradise, but this story offers an adventurous reminder that every society, no matter how idealised, has its struggles. There are valuable lessons to be learned through the momentary hardship –  something to hold onto as you journey into your new life at university.

A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

Bryson is known for his travel writing, but for this hefty book he breaks away to take us on a journey through time. He treks all the way from the Big Bang to where we are now – telling often hilarious, sometimes sad, and highly interesting stories of discovery and learning-as-we-go. It remains a book about science, however, so it will leave you better informed about how the world around you came to be. It beautifully highlights how interconnected and precious all life is. And that, at the end of it all, each organism is simply trying to make its way through the time it has as best it can. Remember this as you observe your new environment while studying abroad, be kind to yourself and those you meet, and it’ll make for a more livelier journey.

Hopefully, these books will help you tune into your new city and discover new dimensions of yourself while living abroad. Around every corner, there are new people, experiences and lessons waiting to be discovered. Soak up as much as you can from this life-changing opportunity of studying abroad and you will graduate with more than just a degree.

Feeling inspired to study abroad? Check out how SchoolApply can help you!

About the Author: Corli de Kock studied journalism and art history in a small little town in South Africa, away from her safe home nest. She's tried her hand at many things, journeying via rock 'n roll to social strategy and eventually copywriting. She's still figuring out what the next thing will be, gathering skills, lessons and friends along the way.

About the Co-Author: Mustafa Sutarwala is an all-round creative marketing graduate from Amity University Dubai, and is currently working in Dubai. He's inclined to digital marketing communications and works as the Creative Ninja for SchoolApply.