Homesickness and the occasional quiet nights in with nothing to do will be part of your semester abroad at some stage. Ashley, one of our student ambassadors, felt it too! In this blog she discusses the best ways to manage them. Call a friend, watch some Netflix and enjoy the downtime while you can!
There is so much to be prepared for when planning for a study abroad trip. Many people recommend so many different things: bring this, don’t bring that. When talking about your trip, everyone will tell you how much fun you will have and how much you will do. While this is true, there are other things that you need to be prepared for too.
Be prepared for the downtime.
Be prepared to do school work.
Be prepared for homesickness.
There will be times when you have nothing to do but still feel like you are missing out. You may feel like you need to be going out and traveling all the time. However, this is not what is going to happen, and is not what should happen.
You will need to take time for yourself. Take time to sit by yourself and process what has happened. Do not feel bad about not moving every second of your trip. Be prepared to have nights in, maybe by yourself, maybe with a friend or two. But appreciate that time as well. It may not be the glamorous night out that one thinks of on a study abroad experience. But, the nights in will give you enough energy to go out and travel with even more appreciation. So, cuddle up with your blanket and laptop and watch some Netflix.
While you’re relaxing, remember to call your family. Even if you don’t think you will have to worry about homesickness, you will. Even if where you’re studying is not substantially different from your home country, you will miss home. There is no way around it. So, bring some pictures, write some letters, and make some phone calls. Because having good relationships at home will make this experience that much better. However, remember that there is a line. Do not get too entangled in what is going on at home, and instead stay focused on the people with you now.
So, try to practice balance. But when the nostalgia hits, even if it doesn’t hit until month two or three, pick up the phone and call home. There is no better cure for loneliness than a familiar face. While you’re practicing balance for your home life and your new life, practice balance between
life and school as well.
When you are planning all the trips you would like to take and all the exploring you will do, you don’t think about the school work you’ll be required to do. But you are expected to do it. Technically, it is the reason you are studying abroad to begin with. There are numerous opportunities for learning when you’re in a different country. However, your classwork needs to come first. It will get tough to sit down and do your readings or projects or to study, but it needs to be done. Some days there will be no motivation to do any school work, but remember that it is why you are here in the first place. Learn as much as possible during your time here, both in classes and out.
There are so many things that you will love about your study abroad experience, but remember to keep these things in mind as well. Studying abroad is not one hundred percent glamour, but it is a marvelous learning experience. If you are prepared for the amazing and the ‘just okay,’ it will make your experience even better.
So, get your homework done, call a friendly face, and do not feel bad about it.
Be prepare for the downtime!