It’s Study Abroad and I’ll Cry if I want to

Studying and traveling abroad can be some of the most exciting experiences of your life.  Especially the planning.  But the reality of going abroad, either for school or pleasure, is often much different than anticipated.  We’ve all heard about culture shock and chances are, if you’ve gone abroad, you’ve experienced culture shock.  Here are some quick tips to get over those humps that make you feel helpless (and hopeless).

1.        Don’t stay in your room alone – as hard as it is to force yourself outside you should explore with friends, or even just take a walk around town to get some fresh air.  Who cares if people notice you’ve been crying.  Try and find a great pair of sunglasses that will make you look less American!

2.       Make sure you eat and drink (water).  Keeping a normal physiological state will help you get over your emotional setback.

3.       As cliché as this sounds, just know that it will get better and you will not be homesick or sad forever.

4.       Set a schedule to contact your friends and family back home.  Maybe Skype your parents every Sunday and Wednesday and a group of friends on Friday night.  Remember, email always keeps you in touch.

Of course emotional drainage isn’t confined to homesickness.  We all feel groggy, upset, moody, sad, overwhelmed, etc. no matter where we are in the world.  Just remember that before you know it your time abroad will come to an end.  Remember to get enough sleep, enough nutrition, and enough exercise to get through your Eeyore days.  Also, write a blog about it!  You’ll be surprised at how many people feel the exact same way as you and you’ll feel a little less alone.

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2 thoughts on “It’s Study Abroad and I’ll Cry if I want to

  1. This article and focus on culture shock really resonates with me. From my own experiences studying abroad as an undergraduate and volunteering/living abroad later in life to founding IndelibleINTL.com and talking to students who are planning on or have just returned from their own experiences abroad it’s been a common refrain. From these experiences I’ve noted that both the culture shock and re-entry experience seem to be difficult for this community of long term travelers. From my experience the best prepared student for these shocks is the one who realizes it will happen, it happens to everyone and that they are not alone in this experience.

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