When we were sitting in our Arcadia orientation at the University of Edinburgh, everyone kept talking about being in the “honeymoon stage” of the abroad experience. I brushed that off since I was finally not upset about everything I was leaving behind at home and my home university.
The first few days in Scotland were amazing. I was on cloud nine. How was I ever hesitant to come in the weeks leading up to departure?
If I’m being honest… the honeymoon phase is real. The honeymoon phase ends. And it ended for me the day after I moved into University of Glasgow. Out of nowhere, I was just sad. I wanted to go home. I was wondering what I got myself into.
If I’m being even more honest… I still feel this way. Not to the extent as in the beginning, but sometimes I do feel lonely and sad that I’m missing out on other things at home.
No one really prepares you for the honeymoon phase to end… until now.
Here are just a few tricks to keep in mind at the beginning of a semester abroad:
Don’t think you’re high and mighty because you’re sooo excited to be studying abroad. At some point, you are going to feel some sort of homesickness. Surround yourself with friends (even if it’s one) and KEEP BUSY!
Lately, I’ve been trying to plan trips and write out my class schedule to remind myself I will have things to do. The hardest part so far about being in Scotland (besides being away from family) is the long wait until classes start. I personally know that once classes and clubs are up and running, I will feel accomplished and distracted from the inevitable FOMO.
Sometimes, it might be hard to talk to your mom or dad (ask my mom about when I sobbed on FaceTime). Sometimes, it will be helpful. Other times, it might be more helpful to talk to friends who are also abroad. They’ve been through the same adjustment period as you and can relate to the homesickness. If comfort is what you’re seeking, definitely reach out to family. They know you the best… and they miss you a ton!!
While studying in a different country is SO HARD, I promise you’re not the only one feeling down the first week or so. It will get better.
Embrace the challenge that lies ahead.