The Not So Glamorous Side of Studying Abroad
I will say that I’ve been pretty lucky while being abroad. I’ve been able to travel across Europe, make new friends and get closer to my old ones, etc, etc, but not everything about being away from home is always easy or fun.
My first time being away from home for an extended period of time was when I was 13 years old. I attended an acting camp in upstate Maine for two and half weeks that was run by an alumnus from my high school and knew some other kids going. It was a tough transition at first (mostly because of the chores), but we were so busy that we barely had time to be homesick and before I knew it, I was in the car back home to New Jersey. Almost every summer since then I’ve lived somewhere other than home, so I thought I was pretty prepared for five months abroad.
I was, and I wasn’t.
Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the first day that was the hardest. I was ready to go, excited for my new adventure, feeling comfortable because I had been to London before and actually stayed really close to where my flat and school are. I had even made it past my birthday, which I was sure I was going to feel wretched on, with no problem. At that point, I had been traveling a lot and busy with my classes. It wasn’t until about just past the halfway point that I went “Oh wait… I’m only halfway done”. I’m not actually sure why all the sudden I felt like this. Most people at that point are instead freaked out by the fact that time has flown by so quickly, and I was as well, but it was weird. I have grown so accustomed to living in London, and yet the week after spring break seemed to drag on.
Homesickness isn’t fun, but it’s also not the end of the world and it is curable! Whenever I start to feel it coming on, I make sure to text one of my friends from home or my family, just to see what’s going on. To be honest, I think homesickness is really just FOMO (Fear of missing out). I miss going to Best Deli with my roommates for some late night Ben and Jerry’s and Disney movies, I miss watching HGTV with my parents and my dogs, I miss a cappella rehearsals, hours at the Office for Student Involvement…. The list is endless, yet I try not to think about what I’m missing and instead what I’m doing here.
This is something that I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember honestly, but there have been many times where I’ve reconsidered my choice. Prior to coming to London, I had many sleepless nights as my mind raced with all of the things that could possibly go wrong while here. I mean, there about a million and one things that could, and recent world events haven’t helped the little voice in the back of my head that keeps asking if I made the right decision.
Well, little voice in the back of my head, I am more than positive that I have made the right decision. If you haven’t noticed, I make sure to Instagram everyday not just to rack up likes, but to make sure that I am always doing something and reflecting on my day and how lucky I am to be here. At the end of the day, even though it can be hard, studying abroad is an absolute privilege. I’ll never have this experience again and to get too wrapped up in my head would be doing a disservice to all the amazing people who have supported me to getting to this point and also to myself. A little ice cream and some Netflix also doesn’t help when you’re homesick.
To live one’s life in fear would be a mistake, and it’s one that I never want to make. The inevitable it the inevitable, what come shall come, but this too shall pass. My time in London will end, the summer will end, and before I know it, I’ll be graduating from Fordham with my diploma in hand and an even bigger, scarier challenge to take on: The real world. I think if I’ve learned anything from studying abroad, I’ve learned about myself. I learned that I can manage my time, travel wherever I want, and how to make a pretty damn good quiche! Although studying abroad can be a scary, lonely thing at times, the amount that you are able to learn and experience has outweighed anything negative by a thousand and one times and then some. I am so, so lucky to be here and I wouldn’t change my time here for anything in the world.
Until next post, see you later!