Studying abroad is by far the best decision I have ever made in my life. I have traveled to so many countries, got to meet people from all around the world and I get to learn German in the meantime. But every single moment of studying abroad is not always happy, and it can be really tough when you are feeling low. Today unfortunately was one of those days where I was alone and felt sad that I am so far away from home. I did not want to leave my room at all, and tried to keep myself distracted the whole day.
If you see what I post on Facebook or see what I post on this blog it may seem like everything is just always fantastic and I am never really thinking about home, but that is just not the case. I for the most part don’t think about home all the time, but when I do think of home I miss it and I get really sad. My goal for this blog is to inspire people to study abroad themselves, but if I really want people to get an honest experience I have to write about some of the negatives of being abroad. Even for people who are not able to study abroad, seeing how things can really be can make you understand what it would be like to go. So for this blog I am going to discuss things that make me feel low and why days like today are growing experiences.
Growing up in California I have always lived no more than an hour drive from the ocean. In southern Germany the ocean is much farther, and if I want to go to a beach it would be a flight away. A place to escape for me while I was living in San Diego was to go to Sunset Cliffs, a beautiful area south of Mission Beach only 10 minutes from Downtown. I personally have had a hard time finding a place to escape here in Germany, and because of that when I feel like I need an escape, I suffer way more than I would normally back at home.
Another personal struggle I’ve had in general is finding a good group of friends. I struggled with it being in California as well, but being in a foreign country makes this task even harder for me. I’ve been meeting lots of people since I’ve been in Germany, but for the most part I only see the people I meet once or maybe even twice. Many people might encounter this same issue as well, especially if you are living in a country with a language that you don’t know. I also had a couple really good friends from home, and so when I get lonely it is easy for me to start thinking about my friends and it makes me really sad. When I am in this mindset, it is easy for me to think I’ve been forgotten by my friends from home, especially when you realize you live halfway across the world from everyone you know and have no one that you feel comfortable with to go talk to nearby.
While living abroad even the small things from home you find yourself really missing. While experiencing an actual winter is fun and is different, when I see the weather at home being 76 degrees and sunny I start to really miss the year round warmth. Food places such as Panda Express, In-N-Out and Wings N’ Things are places I crave all the time. Not to mention in Germany there is no store quite like Walmart or Target, so when you need to go shopping you might have to go to two or three different stores. These small things really make missing home that much greater.
An important thing to realize in all this is that it is completely normal for you to feel this way. I know it is hard sometimes to think that way especially when you don’t feel the best, but the truth is everyone who study’s abroad experiences this at least once. Even with friends from home, realize that they do care about you and are rooting for you to do well even if you don’t talk to them all the time. The experience will not last forever and after it is all over you will go back and be with your friends again, so enjoy the moment abroad. Realizing that students all around you are going through the same things as you really does help in dealing with these times. What I am trying to work on and recommend is when you are feeling low, reach out to someone nearby, don’t tell them you are upset but rather just spend time with other people. As someone with Asperger’s syndrome I find social interactions pretty nerve wracking, but being in a foreign country I’ve had to put myself in situations where I need to be more interactive. From personal experience, being around other people who are doing the same thing as you really does make a difference in how you feel overall. So in conclusion, if you feel homesick, just remember you are not alone and many other students are going through the same thing.
Thanks for reading a more serious post on my blog, I hope you find this post helpful and enjoyable. Any feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks and until next time, Tschüss! 🙂