The Ultimate Iceland Travel Guide

Hey Guys!

So if you follow me on Instagram (@little.miss.expat) you would know that I recently visited Iceland!! It was AMAZING and I’ve been posting some seriously cool photos from my trip. I had so many photos and experiences I wanted to share with you guys, so I thought what’s better than putting them all into one huge travel guide for you to read?

So… I’ve made a list of the ‘must see’ destinations in Iceland and included photos that I have taken at these places. Enjoy!

Note: I visited Iceland in late November so a lot of the activities I did during my trip may look different during other months.

Northern Light Hunting: I mean it’s obvious. You can’t go to Iceland and not look for the Northern Lights! We went towards the end of November and it was a pretty good time to see the Northern Lights. Northern Light Hunting consists of driving out into the countryside of Iceland where it is completely dark and looking for lights in the sky. Make sure to dress really warm for these tours because it is VERY cold and you can be outside for a long time. I’ve included some of the photos I got of the Northern Lights, but bear in mind, I just took these with my regular camera. If you google the Northern Lights you will find much clearer photos.

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Like I said, my photos of the Northern Lights aren’t the best because I didn’t have all the equipment you need to get a clear photo. But you can start to see the Northern Lights in this photo. 

 

Visiting the Blue Lagoon: For me, visiting the Blue Lagoon was higher on my bucket list than seeing the northern lights. I love natural beauty, face masks, and anything to do with relaxation and I think it’s so cool how the Blue Lagoon encompasses it all. For those of you who don’t know, the Blue Lagoon is a geothermal pool filled with minerals that do wonders for your skin, there’s even a special facemask that you can leave on for around 10 minutes that detoxifies your skin. It’s naturally heated so you can be swimming in this warm pool, but the air around you can be freezing. The Blue Lagoon was so relaxing and calming, and I’m pretty sure it was the highlight of my trip.

 

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From the entrance, you can see the steam rising from the lagoon.

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We visited the Blue Lagoon early enough to see the sunrise, so I managed to get some cool pictures of the sunrise and the Lagoon!

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Here’s the Lagoon after sunrise (what you will see in most photos) You can really tell why it’s called the Blue Lagoon. 

 

Visit a Geyser: I wasn’t really sure what a geyser was before this trip, but we visited a few and they are SO COOL. I think the thing that always astonishes me everytime I think of Iceland, is that all these wonders I visited happen naturally. The geysers are small hot springs where water boils and shoots up for you to see. They’re really fun to watch, as everyone stands around wondering when the next spout of hot water will spring up. I took a video of one of them for you to look at.

 

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Here’s a photo so you can get an idea of what the geysers looked like, but you might want to watch the videos. 

 

Visit the Black Sand Beach: I posted a few photos from the Black Sand Beach on my Instagram so you might have already seen those, but let me paint the picture… The stacks of basalt rocks on one side, and the ocean on the other, with the black sand beneath your feet (mixed with a little snow!) is truly unique. You can climb the rocks to get some cool pictures and walk along the sandy beach. For someone who has never seen anything other than regular beaches, this was pretty cool.

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Play in the snow: I mean, I live in Dubai, a desert. It never snows here. I’ve experienced a little snow when I used to live in London and on some holidays. But never in my life have I seen this much snow. A whole blanket of untouched snow spreading out for miles is something that even a camera can’t capture for me. It’s nice to take a little time to play in the snow (you’re never too old for this!), throw some snowballs, and make some snow angels. Be sure to bring sturdy, waterproof shoes with you because trust me, your toes will freeze otherwise.

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Visit a Waterfall: I think I must have visited around five waterfalls during my week in Iceland, and I can say I’ll never get tired of them. Some are tall, some are wide, and you can even climb up and behind others. My favorite was Skógafoss waterfall where I climbed 370 steps to reach a breathtaking view at the top, the climb was definitely worth it! Some of the other waterfalls I visited are the Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, Hraunfossar, and Barnafossar waterfalls.

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The view from the top of a waterfall.

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These are a few of the highlights of my trip to Iceland, that I think you HAVE to see if you’re going there anytime soon. I’m thinking of writing a few more posts about my travels in Iceland, let me know if you would be interested? Also, if you have visited Iceland before please let me know what your highlights were and where you would recommend going!

Have a great weekend!

Little Miss Expat

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How to spend a day in Dubai – Hidden Gems of Dubai

Hi Guys,

So this week I decided to write another ‘Hidden Gems of Dubai’ post, but to change it up a bit. I’ve gathered some of my favourite activities in Dubai and put them into a day plan. So whether or not you’re a tourist, or you live here, here’s a small guide to a super exciting day in Dubai!

*Note: This day plan is most suitable for the cooler months in Dubai, as a lot of the activities are outdoor.

Starting the morning with the Ripe Market: Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE the Ripe Market. It’s literally my favourite place to visit on a Friday morning, because of the happy atmosphere and the amazing food 🙂 There are lots of food stores with healthy options for breakfast, as well as individual stores selling little bits and bobs. I usually go to the one in Za’abeel Park on Friday mornings, but there are quite a few Ripe Markets throughout the week. It’s a brilliant place to chill out and enjoy a walk while spending time with friends and family. IMG_8755IMG_8756IMG_8763IMG_8764IMG_8774IMG_8775IMG_8803IMG_8805

Lunch at Boxpark: For anyone that is visiting Dubai, Boxpark is a must do. It’s basically a bunch of stores and restaurants, but they are made from shipping containers. It’s a really trendy area and tends to get quite busy in the evenings, so I recommend taking a look during the day. One of my favourite things to do in Boxpark is to see all the artwork on the side of the streets and to write on the huge chalkboard where you can leave a nice message. There are lots of eating options in this area, but one of my favourite lunch spots is Markette (Hi guys, I’m really sorry but Markette has recently moved. So don’t go looking for it in Boxpark. There are still lots of other eating options in Boxpark that you can try!). It has so many yummy options, and the servers are really friendly, I would totally recommend it if you’re looking for a bite to eat in Boxpark.

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Kite Beach: Even after living in Dubai for three years, I still find it amazing that I can be in the city one minute and see the beautiful beach the next minute. Kite beach, hence the name is common for kite flyers, or parasailers etc… But there is also a running track stretching down the side of the beach, lots of restaurants and stalls, and plenty of sand to relax on. I would recommend going paddle boarding, as I did it once a few years ago and it was really fun. There are places where you can rent out all sorts of equipment and enjoy the ocean. After you enjoy some swimming and tanning, the view of the sunset from Kite Beach is the best in the whole of Dubai (in my opinion). It’s relaxing to just sit there and enjoy the breathtaking view as the sun hits the ocean.

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Salt: If you’re still on Kite Beach and fancy some dinner, Salt burger is the perfect place for you. It’s the ultimate burger joint in Dubai, and there’s a reason why it’s so popular. Their sliders are AMAZING, and my favorite drink from them is the lotus biscuit shake which is soooo delicious. In the evening you can sit on the benches outdoor, or in the covered area, and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere full of people enjoying their food.

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I hope you guys enjoyed that simple day plan for Dubai! Those are some of my favourite places to visit in Dubai, and I hope you try them as well. Be sure to tag me in any of your photos on Instagram (@Little.Miss.Expat) if you try any of these places. Enjoy your day!

Little Miss Expat

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4 Super Easy Snack Bowl Recipes

Hey Guys,

So if you follow my Instagram (@little.miss.expat) you will know that I LOVE yogurt bowls, granola, and smoothies. Those are basically my three guilty pleasures, and I could eat them all day if I needed to. I’ve received so many questions about how I make these bowls and what I put in them, so I decided to compile my 4 favourite snack bowl recipes into one post for you guys so you can try them! Don’t worry these recipes are pretty self-explanatory, and you can add in and substitute ingredients as much as you want to.

The Original – This is my go-to snack bowl, I literally eat this every day after school, and as a dessert after dinner on some days as well because I love it so much. I’ll tell you what I put in mine but you can add in any of your favourite berries, and as many as you want.

You Will Need:

Yogurt (I just use a local Greek yogurt)

Mixed Berries of your choice (I use strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries)

Granola (my favourite is Lizzies Granola)

Mixed Nuts (to add on top)

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The Original.

The Fully Loaded Exotic – This is for times when I’m feeling a little more ‘out-there’. This yogurt bowl is filled with lots more fruits and flavors. It’s sharp, sweet, and tangy at the same time, and perfect for a summers day.

You Will Need:

Yogurt (I just use a local Greek yogurt)

Mango

Kiwi

Pomegranate

Passion Fruit

Figs

Shredded Coconut

Granola (I use Lizzie’s Granola)

Mixed Berries

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The Fully Loaded Exotic Bowl.

The Nutty Chocolate Bowl – For all of you with a sweet tooth, this one will be perfect for you! It’s basically a smoothie bowl filled with peanut butter, cocoa powder, and banana, but because I only use a tiny amount of the cocoa powder, I call this bowl a healthy one 🙂

You Will Need:

Peanut Butter (I used one that was infused with coconut, extra yummy!)

Cocoa powder

1 Banana

Milk

Walnuts

Ice

(blend all of these ingredients together to make the ‘base’ of this smoothie bowl)

For Toppings:

Cacao Nibs

Banana

Crushed Walnuts

Almond Slices

Shredded Coconut

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The Nutty Chocolate Bowl.

The Simplistic Chia Seed Pudding – Guys I’ll be honest, I’m a huge fan of chia seed pudding and I love to make it for myself as a treat. The word ‘pudding’ is a bit misleading, because it just means that the chia seeds are being soaked in some sort of milk. But this whole dessert is actually pretty healthy and is definitely delicious.

You Will Need:

Chia Seeds

Coconut Milk

(warm up the milk and mix it with the chia seeds. Refrigerate this mixture for a few hours before you assemble the pudding)

For The Toppings:

Mixed berries of your choice

Granola

Shredded coconut

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The Simplistic Chia Seed Pudding.

So those are my four healthy snack bowl recipes and trust me they are all delicious. I’ve never written a blog post about my recipes before, but it was certainly interesting to do, and the pictures were really fun to take. Let me know if you’re interested in seeing more of my recipes! Tell me if you try any of these recipes, and tag it with the #LittleMissExpatRecipes for a feature!

See you next week 🙂

Little Miss Expat

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Hidden Gems of Dubai – Local Businesses

Hi Everyone!

So today I decided to write the second post in my ‘Hidden Gems of Dubai’ series In this post I’m going to introduce you to some local Dubai/UAE businesses, and tell you why I love them. Personally, I prefer to buy from smaller, more local shops, not only because you are supporting a small business, but also you find more unique and fun items. I actually wrote about one of my favorite boutiques, Charlie The Shop in my Summer Favourites post (click here to read it), but for a while, I found it hard to find stores like this in Dubai.

I’ve always been on the lookout for small boutiques and stores in Dubai because I don’t usually see a lot of them. So when I visited the Ripe Market last weekend, I was really excited to find LOADS of local businesses and stores. So this collection of local businesses I will share with you are mostly from the Ripe Market, but some are ones that I’ve known about for a while. (This will be something I will write about again in the future, so if you know any local stores in Dubai let me know in the comments, and I will go check them out)

The Salad Jar: So the Salad Jar isn’t necessarily a boutique, but I thought I would mention it in this post because it is a local business here. I’d heard about it quite a bit, but I had never actually tried their salads until they sent me a few. Let me tell you, they are so convenient to eat and have ready at home, and they taste soooo good. Their principle is Shake, Eat, Love. So they give you a layered salad in a jar that you have to shake to mix it, and then eat. It’s such an effective concept, and it’s really yummy! (They also have a stand at the Ripe Market so you can find them there, as well as on their website)

 

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Their stand at the Ripe Market

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A delicious salad from them

 

Emaan Home: I found Emaan Home at the Ripe Market last week, and I was immediately drawn to their stand by their really cute products. I think I got a little over-excited because I honestly loved everything there, but I ended up buying a beautiful speckled bowl, which I think I’m going to have my daily yogurt and granola in (for those of you who follow my Instagram, you’ll know I have an obsession with this). I’m also thinking about purchasing a planner from them, to keep me organized. As they have some really cool planner designs and, to be honest, I would buy everything in their store if I could.

 

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The beautiful speckled bowl I got from them

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Their stand at the Ripe Market, isn’t it so cute?

 

BDB Design Studios: I also came across this store at the Ripe Market, and I fell in love with their embroidered towels. They’re such great quality and the embroidery is really well done. I’ve put in a picture of the towels I purchased, and I think they’re the perfect gift for a friend back home, because of the cute camel design. I look forward to buying more from them in the future! (unfortunately, their website is under construction at the moment, but you can visit their Facebook or Pinterest pages)

 

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I still can’t get over how cute these are!

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Lua Luz: This dainty jewelry store, has been all I’ve been thinking about for the past week! I’m quite particular about the jewelry I wear, I only like to wear dainty pieces, and they have to be long lasting and good quality. And I’ve been on the lookout recently for a dainty necklace with lots of charms, and the necklace I got from them was BEAUTIFUL. I mean just look at the picture. Who wouldn’t love it? You should definitely go look at some of their designs if you’re in need of some new jewelry.

 

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I mean WOW.

 

 

 

Ripe Organic: Okay so technically this isn’t a small business, it’s actually really popular in Dubai, but I still love it and want to share it with you guys. If you guys know me, you know that I love learning about new healthy foods and recipes, and learning how my body works. But sometimes I find it really hard to find all the ingredients out here and I can’t make the recipes I want to. Ripe Organic is a store that sells organic food, which is locally grown in Dubai and Abu Dhabi (!) They also sell a bunch of superfoods, and pantry staples, as well as gluten-free treats! Anyone who lives in Dubai definitely has to check them out.

 

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My heaven

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The Green EcoStore: Guys, I’m all about helping the environment and when I see a store that’s doing this it makes me really happy. The Green EcoStore is a business in Dubai that sells every single eco-friendly item you could possibly want. I’m not kidding. From eco-friendly cleaning products to kitchenware they have it all. They also have a stand at the Ripe Market, if you’re interested in taking a look!

So, those are my 6 favorite local businesses and stores in Dubai at the moment. Like I said I’m always on the lookout for new stores to visit, so if you know any let me know in the comments. Also, if you’re a local business in Dubai visit my collab page, and I’ll be sure to look at your store. Please let me know if you enjoyed this kind of post, and if it was helpful for you!

Little Miss Expat

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Running – The Breakdown

Hi guys,

Welcome back to my blog! It has been a stressful past few weeks, but I have finally got down to writing this post, which I hope you enjoy and find useful.

Running. For some, it brings them joy (me!) and for others, they start shaking at the knees when they hear the words ‘run’ and ‘mile’ in the same sentence. My goal? To explain to you a few reasons why I love running, but more importantly to break it down for you and to encourage you to grab a pair of running shoes and get out to the track!

But, you may be thinking, she’s an expat blogger what is she doing writing about running? Well… you’re right, my goal in starting this blog was to share my experience with other expats and teens all across the world, but I also want to share a few of my passions with you. And running, as well as being one of my passions, is also one of my coping mechanisms and helped (and still helps) me de-stress throughout my whole ‘expat journey.’

Personally, I’d never really had a strong opinion about running until recent years. When I was in 6th grade my family and I used to go out for runs every Sunday morning, but by no means were these very fast runs, just a way to get out and get moving. Thinking about it all these years later I think this is where my love for running started, I didn’t know a thing about running, form, or technique but I wasn’t half-bad. When I moved to Dubai and we started running long distance in PE class I found that I could actually run a mile without stopping, and at an average time. (which trust me, was a huge surprise to me) A year later I joined my first cross country team, and have been running long distance races ever since. In a whirlwind of early morning practices, shin splints, and KT tape, (runners, you will get that reference) I have found something I love doing, that has taught me so many lessons and has introduced me to some of my closest friends. I am no means an exceptional runner, but I think I’m good enough to be able to pass on a little of my ‘running wisdom’ onto you guys today and give you an idea of how to get started.

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First of all, the breakdown. Now, I’m no fitness guru but from my vast training experience, I can tell you that you don’t need to have some amazing talent to be able to run. No, in fact, I am actually severely flat-footed and have double jointed ankles that cause a LOT of problems with my running, but I still do it. So, in my opinion, the most important factor of becoming a good runner is self-determination.

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What do I mean by self-determination?

This category covers your mental determination, as well as your training. You see, running long distance is mostly in your head. If you tell yourself that you’re going to go out and crush a 5K run you will! But if you tell yourself that you’re feeling tired and not up for it, you’ll hardly be able to finish a mile. Determination is such a key factor in being a successful runner because once you’re out there on the track, it’s just you, your body, and your mind, and only YOU can determine how well you’re going to do. With that being said, you do have to put in a lot of work to get to this stage. Running itself isn’t actually hard, everyone can do it, maybe not very well, but everyone knows how to run. But it’s the skill of improving and building upon that skill that takes training and determination. Without practice, you aren’t going to improve at all or build your endurance at all. It takes determination to get out there, even at 6AM and run to improve, and that’s one of the biggest lessons running teaches you, how to control and discipline yourself.

How can you start?

One of my coaches once told me that no matter how fast you’re running, you always get there the same way. One step at a time. I’ve been thinking about this ever since because running is essentially a refinement of the same skill. It’s not like tennis or basketball, where there are many different skills you have to perfect in order to win the game (although don’t quote me on that, I hardly know anything about basketball) But with running if you start and keep on going, you will be able to run that mile or 5K and carry on improving. So start it that way, keep putting one foot in front of the other and use your mental strength to push you even further. My math teacher always talks about us building up our ‘brain muscles’ and how by the end of her course we’re all going to have ‘6-packs’ in our brains. Think of this the same way, while running may be a physical sport, you will end up with a 6-pack in your brain before you get one on your abs.

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Where Next?

Running is consistent. You can’t just run a 5K one day, then say you’re done for the rest of the week, you have to keep it consistent and attainable. So even if that means running shorter distances, but doing it 3-4 times a week that’s much better, and will help you grow even more. You also need to take time to enjoy your running, because if you don’t enjoy it then why would you be motivated to do it? For me, running is a de-stresses me, makes me happy, and puts me in a good mood, it should have some sort of positive impact on you as well!

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So remember, while I’m no scientist or coach, I just wanted to share some of my experience with running with you and break it down for you in order to encourage you to get out there and run! This will be an ongoing series, as there are so many aspects I could talk about within running, so be sure to let me know what you would like to read about next and if you have any questions!

Little Miss Expat

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Why YOU should be involved in community service

Hi Guys,

So if you follow me on Instagram, you would already kind of know what this blog post is going to be about. But if you don’t, let me explain…

For as long as I can remember I have loved helping people, as a little girl, I would go out of my way to help others and I still do. Moving to Dubai has made me more aware of everything that’s going on in the world around me, and when I took a Global Issues course last year something just ignited inside me. My passion is community service. By service, I mean helping people who aren’t as fortunate or me or helping people that I can teach something to. For example, one of the reasons I started this blog was because I wanted to help teenage expats all across the world, which is a form of service if you think about it.

I’m the kind of girl that loves watching UNICEF’s videos on their youtube channel, and every time I watch a video, I get goosebumps. (I know it’s kind of nerdy, but it’s true!!)  There’s something about seeing how peoples lives have changed because of the help that someone has given them makes me soooo happy.

As I said, service is my passion and I try to do as much of it as possible. I always volunteer for as much as I can in school. (as my school offers a lot of service opportunities) This year I was in charge of running one of the largest charity events in my community, which happened yesterday. About 130 other volunteers and I spent our Friday helping those who aren’t as fortunate as us. And I’ll be honest the amount of work that goes into initiating an event this big is CRAZY, but it is 100% worth it, and it’s FUN and REWARDING. I went home yesterday smiling, and over the moon, because I knew how much I had helped someone that day. It also makes you feel immensely grateful for everything you have, which is very important.

However old you are, whether you’re in school or not, I think it is SO important to be involved in some sort of service. The benefits of it are indisputable, you are making someone’s life better, by just giving them some of your time. There are so many ways you can do this, from volunteering at your school or community center, starting a blog like I did to share your advice, volunteering with an organization over summer, or even just starting by browsing the internet for community service opportunities.

I hope I have transferred a little bit of my service dream on to you guys today and inspired you to do something to help others! I will definitely be writing more about this soon (I mean I could talk about this for ages) but that’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed!

Little Miss Expat

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5 Ways To Deal With School Work

Hi Guys!

After what seems like the longest week ever, it is FINALLY the weekend. But, my weekends are now filled with homework and revision, as I’m sure most of yours are. So… as I do, I thought I would write a blog post about this.

Going into my Sophomore year has been a real shock, but I think I am getting into the routine now. When I first came back from summer I found that my brain was still on holiday, and I wasn’t as productive as I was last year. This really started to worry me, as I felt like I was losing it, and I was going to fall behind. I’m sure that I’m not the only one that has experienced this ‘back to school-itus’ so far, so I wanted to share a few of my tips with you guys on how to deal with homework and school work in general, and getting back into a routine:

  1. Go to sleep early – One of my favorite things about summer is sleeping as late as I want to, and not having to worry about early starts the next day. I found it really hard to adjust from that routine when I started school, as I was so used to it. But, I think it’s a really good place to start getting into the routine for school, and to ensure that you won’t be tired at school. (which, trust me is the worst)
  2. Focus in class – Really this sounds so simple, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years in school, is that by focusing and working hard in class, you’re really just helping yourself. By listening and doing what you’re meant to in class, you usually end up with less homework, or you find the homework easier to complete. And, when it comes to a summative assessment you are way more prepared because you have understood everything along the way, and don’t need to do a last-minute cram session.
  3. Utilize your time – This tip is really big for me, as I do like to make sure my schedule is completely full, and I take on as much as I can. So for others, this would result in them not having time to do everything. But, I have come up with a system for utilizing every single second of my time during the day. For example, I write down my blog post ideas on the way to school and plan my Instagram posts for this blogs Instagram. Any emails, that I need to send out, I send in the car. So that when I get home, I have finished everything that could be finished elsewhere, and I just have to complete the big tasks I have to do at home. Whatever you do to utilize your time, it’s a really good idea to finish tasks throughout the day, whenever you find that you have time.
  4. Make lists – This is so helpful for me. Wow. I always find that I have a never-ending list of things I need to do, and I like to keep a list on my desk, as well as on my phone, of the things I need to do next. There must be some scientific reason as to why lists are so effective, but for me, it just un-jumbles everything in my brain and gives me a step to step guide of what I’m doing next. I would really recommend this for any student.
  5. Go Running – This has really helped me get into my school routine again. Of course, it’s partly because I love running, but also because running gives me discipline. I know that as soon as I get home from school I need to get in my run for that day, and then I can eat and do my homework. Not only does it give my day structure, but it makes me feel better about what I’ve done that day, and more motivated and focused when I’m doing my homework. Also, on the note of utilizing my time, one thing that I have started doing, is listening to audiobooks while running, at first this was purely because I had heard so many people talking about this. But, I thought that I would find it too boring, however, it’s actually a good sound to run to, as it keeps your mind on something else. And it teaches you something, I think that I might start listening to a more educational audiobook, such as a textbook (as I’m now listening to Harry Potter) so that I can utilize my running time even more.

I hope you guys found my tips helpful! I mean, they’re just a few random thoughts I threw together that I thought you might find useful. What are your best study tips? And be sure to let me know what you think about mine!

Little Miss Expat

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