By studying abroad, you’re choosing to pick up your things and leave behind all that’s familiar: your family, your friends, your home, and everything in between. While studying abroad is a wonderful experience, leaving so much of your life behind can lead to a challenging adjustment period once you're finally overseas, and we want to make sure you have the resouces to navigate it.
To help you prepare for this, we gathered seven posts from our student Correspondents who blogged about their experiences of adjusting to life abroad. Read on for their key insights:
1. How you actually feel is more important than how you "should" feel.
“The worst part wasn't that I was feeling bad, but that I felt guilty for feeling bad. I thought that I wasn't doing what I 'should,' which is to say, seeing every museum and traveling to as many cities as possible and 'living my best life.' I was worried that I was somehow disappointing the people I had left back home. I would try to tell myself the old refrain of 'You're not allowed to be sad, you're in [Fill in Your City Here]!' But in all honesty, that is not fair. Don't tell yourself that, and don't let others tell you that either.” - Tessa Copeland (IES Abroad Paris - French Studies | University of Tulsa)
2. Everyone works through the adjustment period differently.
“I don’t think any number of PowerPoints will be able to teach you the 'proper' way to take on culture shock until you experience it first-hand and learn how to cope with the uniqueness that is your way of thinking and processing.” - Mollie Abts (IES Abroad Multi-Location: Santiago & Buenos Aires | University of Minnesota)
“Here’s the truth about studying abroad: there are moments when you mess up. There are moments when the milk is expired, and your British friends have to settle for herbal tea. More and more, I’ve come to learn that the times that I make mistakes are the times that I learn the most about myself.” - Allison Bruns (IES Abroad London - Study London | Indiana University)