Something that happened to me, that usually happens to everyone studying abroad, is that at the 3-week mark, before you leave, you’ve completely run out of battery. This is due to the fact that you’re constantly meeting new people, planning new trips, and staying up much later than you would back home. This has happened to me. And it is also because in the month before you leave, you realize that you are slowly beginning to run out of time abroad. Therefore, you begin planning something big for each week so that you can make the absolute most of your time and you never feel like you’re wasting such a big opportunity. While it is encouraged to do as many things as possible because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it is much less encouraged to try to do as much as possible within the span of a week (while in school), which is what I’ve been doing.
Over the past four weeks I have gone on two weekend trips and had different friends coming to visit for two consecutive weekends. While I’m very grateful for all I’ve gotten to do, I have had no time to have one day completely to myself, which is the main reason for my burnout.
This 3-week period before leaving is also such a bad time to experience such burnout because you will have finals to start preparing for, which causes extra stress on top of exhaustion.
What I recommend for people who are planning to study abroad is to plan their weekend trips ahead of time and set aside time for themselves. Something that I’ve done that I would definitely not do again is planning trips a week in advance. I’m very spontaneous but that has now come back to haunt me because I am extremely tired because I’ve been planning too much so close together. I did not come into study abroad with an actual plan, instead, I had ideas about where I wanted to go, and months I could go and visit my friends, but I didn’t have an actual plan. What I recommend is that in the first month of study abroad, you actually begin mapping out what trips you’re taking each month and separate them enough so that the next weekend after a big trip, you have some time for yourself and you can catch up on homework.
Burnout is a very common thing that happens to people who aren’t even studying abroad—it’s just a natural part of life. But not realizing that you’re experiencing burnout while abroad can make you feel insanely overwhelmed and lead to homesickness. The second you start feeling exhausted after incredibly busy weeks, you should put aside one day where you can do whatever you want. Whether that be watching movies all day, spending the day at a park, or catching up on just catching up on sleep. There is nothing worse than being too exhausted while you’re away in an amazing place.
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My name is Alicia Strader and I am currently a junior at Fordham University. I am an International Studies major and I have a minor in the French language. I enjoy reading, socializing with my friends, and trying new restaurants.