My big sister got married this month. When I was applying to study abroad in New Zealand, I made sure that I would be able to travel back to California to support my sister the week of her wedding. Since everyone in NZ is so relaxed, my teachers seemed confused when I asked them if it was okay for me to miss class. They sort of looked at me like, “I’m not sure why you are asking permission; you are an adult who can make their own decision about whether or not you will attend class.” So with that was settled, I boarded another 14-hour flight back to LAX.
Now before anyone gets the wrong idea, I do not recommend going home during your time abroad! A lot of my friends here have gotten visits from their parents or siblings, which I think is great, but going home is a new ball game. I was back in CA for 10 days. I knew I would need to get over jet lag, want to see some of my friends from home, and of course, help prepare for the wedding festivities.
The perks of going home were seeing my family, friends, and boyfriend, dancing during the wedding reception, and eating at every American restaurant/grocery store that I desperately missed while being in New Zealand. I’m talking about Chipotle, In-N-Out, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and Whole Foods. The sunny weather was also a nice bonus during my time back in California.
However, I’m not sure that the perks outweighed the negatives of going home. Obviously since my sister was getting married it was important and necessary that I went home to support her. If you are about to go abroad, and don’t have a similar reason to go home, I would recommend you don’t. Going home increases any homesickness you were previously experiencing. If you weren’t homesick before you went home, you will most likely be homesick after. For me, transitioning to life abroad came naturally. The second I arrived in New Zealand IES Abroad had so many activities planned I rarely had a moment to myself for the first week or two. Because of this, there isn’t much time to miss home because you are constantly doing something and are surrounded by other students. When I went home to California, I adjusted back to my life there very quickly because California is familiar and is where I am most comfortable. But when I flew back to New Zealand, I had to adjust back to my life there. I arrived back on a Tuesday, went to class, and had the rest of the day free. Unlike my first week in New Zealand, I had a lot of time to myself to reflect on making the transition back to living in Christchurch and being around the friends I had met at UC Canterbury. I also only had two weeks left in New Zealand before my classes ended and I flew back to California for the summer. At this point I had made up my mind that I was ready to go home. I figured, I’d enjoy my last two weeks in New Zealand, and be back home before I know it. Because I made the mental decision that I was ready to go home, I closed myself off to fully enjoying my last two weeks in the country that I was madly in love with before I left to go to the wedding. This is why I recommend not leaving the country that you are studying in to go back to your home country. Your life back home will be there when you get back, and adjusting to a daily routine abroad should only have to be done once!
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<p>I'm Caroline, a native to Southern California, and a student at Texas Christian University. I'm studying Social Work and hope to eventually work in the field of child welfare, where I'll give children who haven't had the best start to their lives a chance to be successful. I love to play soccer, surf, go on backpacking trips, and eat delicious, healthy food. I'm hoping to meet new people, explore as many places in New Zealand as I can, and gain cultural awareness through my experience abroad. I'm ready for some new adventures and in New Zealand, those aren't hard to find.</p>