Studying abroad is an exhilarating, eye opening and life changing experience, however, that does not mean it comes without it’s struggles.
While studying abroad your universe is turned upside down. You have to learn how to communicate across language barriers, navigate your way around a city using public transportation and simple tasks such as buying groceries become new challenges.
Amid the excitement and challenges, finding ways to follow and adjust your routine from home to fit your new lifestyle is important to not become too overwhelmed. Here are my tips for maintaining normalcy while living overseas.
Take time to slow down
Living in a new city, while trying to soak up a new culture, you are going to find yourself wanting to be on the move all the time. But slow down, and take a deep breath. You have three to four months to explore your new home, do not overdo it in the beginning and burn yourself out.
If you have a day without a ton of school work, pick one activity whether it’s a restaurant you want to try, a museum you want to visit or a landmark you haven’t seen yet.
If your friends want to go out one night but you know you need a good night in watching a TV show or Facetiming a friend, listen to your gut. Missing one night for a mental reset will serve you well and help you feel refreshed for the rest of your week.
Instill parts of your routine from home
Whether your routine from home includes going to the gym, going on a morning walk or listening to your favorite podcast everyday, continue to do these things.
Making time to do things that make you feel like yourself will help you maintain your identity living in a foreign country.
I’ve found it helpful to maintain my routine by cooking my meals during the week when I am not traveling. This not only helps me save money but allows me to cook, which is something I enjoy and find relaxing!
While I am not doing the typical workouts I do at home, I still make time to go to the gym even if it is just to walk on the treadmill and listen to a podcast. These simple acts help me feel like myself again.
Schedule facetime calls with friends and family
While abroad, it is normal to be homesick and miss your friends and family! Calling one friend or family member a day helps you stay connected. While it can be hard to coordinate with the time difference, if you plan in advance it is worth it.
Another method I found helpful to stay in touch with my friends and family, as well as allow them to follow my trip and see my photos and videos was creating an abroad Instagram account to post different places I am visiting, as well as foods I am trying. This way you do not need to personally send these things to 20 different people, and those who are interested in your travels can follow your account.
Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride, but don’t forget your roots!