Leaving the States and Opening my Mind

Atiya Byrom
January 9, 2020

In a few days, I will be leaving the country for the first time in my entire life, and I've been anticipating this moment since I received the congratulatory email. Still, as departure day draws closer, all that I've been thinking about is what I'm going to miss once I'm gone. My family, friends, MY FOOD, just my whole way of life. It's been helpful to remind myself why I chose to study abroad in the first place. I want to step out of my comfort zone and gain new cultural perspectives, all the while learning to appreciate what I have back home.

Here are some methods that are helping me combat homesickness, open my mind to embracing the culture in Milan, and stay connected with my life back home:

Disconnect: Scrolling through Instagram and Twitter for hours on end is definitely part of my daily routine, but when I leave for Milan, I plan on deleting the apps from my phone for at least one month. I feel as though seeing all my friends back home having "loads of fun" without me will aid in my homesickness. Taking a social media break will allow me to cut away distractions and fully immerse myself in Italian culture. 

Bring a recipe from home: If there's one thing I've learned in life, it's that food has fantastic healing properties. Cooking your favorite family recipe while abroad brings a familiar comfort to your home away from home. Plus, it makes sure your cooking skills are staying sharp in the process. 

Connect with fellow study abroad students before you leave: Speaking with those who are going to be in similar positions as you will help to alleviate fears. It also gives you something to look forward to in terms of meeting new people! You all can exchange packing tips, traveling bucket lists, and potential academic classes!

Create a shared photo album with friends and family: This one is for all my iPhone users out there. There's a component in the photo app that lets multiple users add photos to one shared album. This way, you can share your abroad adventures with your family and friends while they keep you in the loop of what they have going on back home!

Research the country you'll be studying abroad in: One of the ways to keep yourself excited about departing for your host country is researching everything about it. From food and museums to thrift shops and flea markets, finding ways to nurture your interests abroad will help you adapt to the new environment and feed anticipation!

Each one of these techniques has been extremely helpful in getting rid of my pre-departure jitters and has me counting the hours until I'm in Milan!

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Atiya Byrom

<p>Hi! My name's Atiya, and I am a junior Economics major, Creative Writing minor at Spelman College! I enjoy traveling, meeting new people, eating delicious food, and just making amazing memories with great people. I'm into all things creative from writing screenplays to taking the perfect photograph. I'm super excited to be in Milan and to take y'all on this journey with me!</p>

Destination:
Term:
2020 Spring
Home university:
Spelman College
Hometown:
Cordele, GA
Major:
Economics
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