Be SMART about your summer breaks

Summer breaks are perhaps the most important months for students studying abroad, pursuing higher education goals. It can be the time to relax and unwind, or it could also be the time to travel and teach. There are no right or wrong ways to spend a summer break, as long as SMART concept is put in place – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.  

As a thumb rule, you should know what you would like to achieve at the end of the break, and then use the SMART analogy to plan out. These are some examples, although not exhaustive, to help you stimulate your thoughts and plans.

Mindfulness & Relaxation

The sheer amount knowledge absorbed during semesters is copious to say the least. A lot is learnt, processed and put to practice. And it’d begin all over again after the break.

Practicing mindfulness and relaxation greatly enhances brain’s capacity to channelize, internalize and cope up with the yottabytes of information. But mind you, there is a difference between relaxation and lazing around.

Plan the hike you always wanted to take, or try cuisines at the restaurants you fancied but couldn’t spare time to visit. Fond of architecture or art? A visit at iconic places would be a wonderful respite. Take it easy and go with the flow.

Personal Projects

Let’s say you are pursuing masters in economics the U.K. and wanted to submit a white paper about the effects of colonialization, but did not get enough time to pursue this passion. You will have ample of time to achieve your non-academic goals – whether writing a white paper or enrolling as a taste-tester.

It’d be wise to do a bit of research about the process of your personal project few days before the summer break begins. It’d be wiser to collaborate with other like-minded individuals with shared passions. This would lay the foundation for future partnerships and help develop cross-cultural perspectives.


Most of you would choose to travel, and why not. Studying in Europe, for example, gives you access to visit 27 countries. Traveling in the U.S., Canada or any other country while studying gives you the chance to be bewitched by the wonders of northern hemisphere. These opportunities are not to be missed.

Although, can you or would you like to align a secondary objective with traveling? Learning about new cultures? Start a travel vlog? Brainstorm some ideas before you book the tickets. The satisfaction you’ll get by adding a secondary goal to your primary objective – traveling – would be enormous.    

A word of caution. Assuming that you’d simply enjoy the summer break without any planning, relax a bit, do some of this and that, would lead to disappointment. You’d regret not making better use of those invaluable months.

So, plan something specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and on time. Figure out a SMART way to spend your summer break. Good luck.

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