Recently, I’ve found that self-care hasn’t been on top of my priority list. I think since my time in Barcelona was ending, I said yes to opportunities to have adventures and travel more often. Saying no is extremely powerful. Saying no can be a form of self-care because often times we get into the mindset that we have to do everything and be there for everyone but that’s it’s not worth it if you’re not saving some you for YOU. The month of November is when I got sick for about two weeks. I still said yes to many outings. I wanted to make the most of it but at what cost? Your health comes first and it’s important you don’t forget yourself in the process. Yes, it could all seem so exciting, people around are doing this and that but take it from me. You will get burnt out! Especially if you are trying to juggle school, an internship, plus a new city, language, and traveling throughout Europe during your breaks. It’s okay to be “selfish” for once because, in the end, you are not really selfish. You are just looking out for you and self-love and self-care is essential to your growth and progress as a human being. There were select Fridays I would go off and walk alone, sit in a cafe and just journal. You want to document all your experiences because study abroad truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Sure you can always come back and do your masters abroad and things like that but it’s never really the same. It’s important to be mindful while being present and in the moment.
In the states, I used water bottles heavily. I just bought those Crystal Geyser plastic water bottles like it was the end all be all of my life. While I was abroad, I used a reusable water bottle. Even though really big water bottles are cheap (1Euro) that can definitely add up in your time there. You don’t want all your money going to water. Use the water fountain at your program/university, as well as your home. Sink water is fine. Really it’s fine. You will survive.
Budgeting is very important especially as college students. I would recommend getting the Mint App to see where your money goes because that can help you keep track of your spendings. Also depending on your bank, transaction fees can really cause some damage so taking out a lot of cash beforehand is a good way to avoid big transaction fees. You can also look up atms with no transaction fees beforehand.
In my experience, traveling alone is a great way to sit with your thoughts and really just sit with yourself and accept who you are in that moment. It will push and test you to do things independently and things you wouldn’t normally do with a friend or group of people. A couple of years ago, my freshmen year in college I used to feel weird sitting in a restaurant and eating alone. Now it’s not weird at all! Feeling lonely just means you need yourself more. Traveling alone will really show you who are in times of distress. For example, when I lost my phone in Hungary, I had to navigate by myself to my hostel, nearby shops, and back to the airport to go back to Barcelona. I learned I handle issues with a lot of calmness. I freaked out for a little bit obviously when I lost my phone but then I figured it out. When you are left with not much, you have to figure it out and most things are figurable. Most things are really not as bad as it seems. Travel alone to test yourself and see how you handle stressful situations. Trust me, self-awareness is key and the best way to know yourself is to put yourself in a situation where you’re forced to learn and take care of it. I truly believe adversity and problems in your life will make you stronger. There is no shine without darkness so if you have it in you to take a risk, then ditch your friends and what’s comfortable for a day. Try to make it without any help. You will be led to where you need to be and most importantly you will learn so much about yourself!
Journaling has single-handedly helped me figure out myself and express how I felt in moments of time. It’s also a great way to document your journey. Of course, there is always pictures and videos but if you want to get in touch with your feelings, I suggest putting pen to paper. Typing is not as authentic with your emotions but it can work too. Studying abroad will bring forth many emotions. Leaving your family for the first time in a long time that is out of the country. I know college you may have had to leave your family but for a lot of you, study abroad will consist of many first’s. For example, I celebrated my birthday abroad the first time ever in a different country that wasn’t my home country or birthplace. It’s exciting, all of it! The people you meet and adventures you will go on. A journal can help you work through all the attachments from home and new attachments you are forming while abroad.
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Hi I'm Raisa, and I usually introduce myself by saying my name is pronounced like a bowl of rice and then uh. I enjoy writing poetry, taking photos of nature, and making playlists of all musical genres.