Moving across the world by yourself is no easy feat. In fact, it takes a lot of courage (and in my case cabin fever). I craved newness after the monotony of the pandemic, and some semblance of normalcy is all I wanted. I already experienced leaving home once before when I moved to North Carolina for college. I dealt with homesickness during my freshman year of college, and developed some tools to manage it. That being said, moving abroad this spring came with new challenges. Not only was finding time to talk to friends and family difficult due to the time zone differences, but it was my first time navigating a long-distance relationship. I realized that I wasn't as prepared as I originally thought.
After waiting months and years for this semester of my life, I naively thought all of my problems would magically dissolve the moment I stepped in France. After all, most of my anxieties are linked to my life back home in the United States. Well, that didn't exactly pan out like I'd thought. While I was still in the "honeymoon phase" of studying abroad it felt like life was perfect. As the months passed, unwelcome feelings such as loneliness and anxiety bubbled up to the surface without my permission. I'm lucky to be studying in France, so that caused a lot of guilt within me. But, I want to mention that these feelings were not constant. As with all emotions, they came and went in waves. Little things, such as taking a long walk or stopping by the farmer's market, helped my mental health immensely. These little self-care gestures illustrated how perfectly chaotic and wonderful my life is right now, and it validated that it's okay to feel lonely sometimes. What matters is making sure I'm soaking up each sunny day on the Côte d'Azur, and that I'm not holding myself back from living in the moment.
Practices that helped me the most were talking to my loved ones regularly and keeping them in the loop of what was going on in my life. Making a conscious effort to hang out with my roommates and say "yes" to as many things as possible helped a lot as well. It was important to keep myself busy so I wasn't dwelling on being alone for too long. Additionally, it's important to recognize that your emotions are perfectly valid. Studying abroad can be exhausting, with an abundance of travel and new experiences, and that takes a toll. While I'm still learning how to live in the moment, this semester helped me immensely with being present and grateful for the situation I'm in.
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Hey everyone! My name is Taylor Quinn and I'm an Economics major at UNC Charlotte. This semester I'm studying abroad in Nice, France with the Business, Sustainability, and Immigration Program. My hometown is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and I'm a huge football fan (American style). On the weekend, you'll probably find me discovering a nearby hike, scoping out a bookstore, or studying at a local coffee shop. I love to cook, although most would say I'm only an amateur, so I can't wait to explore the Niçoise cuisine and the rest that Nice has to offer.