So you have arrived in your city of choice about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Scary, huh?
The first few days of being abroad can be the most emotional days of your experience, especially if you go at it alone. Coming off of the plane and walking into a foreign airport in a foreign country where it sounds like everyone speaks anything but English can be quite an intimidating welcome. But don’t fret, I can assure you that it is very likely someone in the vicinity speaks some English. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help (preferably someone who works in airport).
On your way to your new home, whether it be by train, bus or taxi, keep your eyes out the window instead of on your phone (assuming you’re frantically texting your mom saying that you want to come home). Take in the place that will be your country for the next semester. Take pictures. Even if you’re feeling uneasy now you will want to remember every bit of this experience later.
Once you arrive at your new home, whether it be a dorm or an apartment, take it all in. Stand outside and look at who will be your neighbors for the semester. Roll that suitcase up the stairs and enter your new living space. It’s probably not what you expected, whether that be good or bad, but it is a place that will hold so many memories for you in the future.
One of the hardest parts about this new experience is who you will be doing it with. Many people go abroad without knowing a single soul that they will be living or going to school with. This can be a very hard transition, and may seem crazy, but so many times it is completely worth it. Get to know as many people as you can, those studying abroad and those not. It takes a special kind of person to study abroad, and lean on each other for support if you need it.
The first night is always the toughest. Laying in your bed late at night when you’re alone with your thoughts can make you realize that you are not strong enough to be here and all you want to do is be home. But it is not true. You did this for a reason. The first night will be the hardest, but it only goes up from there.
As the second day rolls around, start unpacking if you haven’t already. If you want this place to feel like home you have to make it that way. Take your time in setting up all of your belongings so it is exactly how you want it. Then go out and explore your new city. Eat at the restaurant downstairs from you with your roommates. Travel to all of the tourist spots. Have fun. The only remedy for being homesick is to get your mind off of it.
And just like that you are on your third day of your adventure. Time will continue to fly and you will become more comfortable in this new city, and may actually love it. The first few days may be scary, but with patience and a positive attitude you will settle right in.
And during all of this—keep in touch with your loved ones. Don’t text them constantly, but let them know that you are doing okay. They are as far away from you as you are from them. Stay on the lookout for the next installment, Abroad Blog: Traveling
Photos provided by Taylor.