10 Feels Every Student Has While Studying Abroad
Let’s face it, picking up and moving to a new country for a few months is no easy task. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll realize how much breakfast tacos really are #bae.
Here are 10 feels you have to look forward to as you travel abroad.
1. A mix of excitement and slight panic: If you are anything like me, a couple weeks before departing for [Insert Country Here] you will realize that there is no possible way for you to cram in everything you wanted to do before you left. You simply do not have time to have a heartfelt goodbye lunch with everyone you know and revisit all your favorite spots one last time in two weeks. But you realize Austin will be waiting for you when you get back so you decide to start saying goodbye to your family, closest friends and your cat, because, priorities.
2. A mix of love and full on panic: A couple days before you leave you will spend a lot of time reflecting on your time you have spent in Austin and all the good memories you have made. Your friends will surprise you with a goodbye party and you will cry (speaking from experience) and make the whole dinner slightly awkward. Yes, your best friend is secretly resenting you for leaving her for a whole semester. Your significant other is going to try their best to be supportive but will be sad to see you go. Today, it is super easy to keep in touch using Facebook messenger, whatsapp, Facetime, snapchat, the list goes on. Point is, I promise you will be able to keep in touch.
3. All the feels at once: On the day of actually flying out to [Insert Country Here] your family/SO/best friend is going to drop you off at the airport. *Cue tears* Then while you are checking in, going through security and waiting to board the plane, you will have a minimum of two hours to think about all the reasons why this is a terrible idea (and who even came up with the idea of studying abroad anyway) and you will probably remember something you forgot to pack. *Cue panic* But, once the plane actually takes off you start thinking about how you actually did it. You are going to live in a country that you only dreamed about as a kid. The next 10 hours are spent thinking about all the places you’ll visit and things you’ll do in [Insert Country Here].
4. Confusion: The first couple weeks at your new university consist of making mistakes, getting lost and asking a LOT of people for help/advice. It’s basically freshman year all over again. The only way to figure everything out is to face it head on and accept the fact that you will make mistakes, and that’s okay. It’s all part of studying abroad. After a few weeks you’ll feel like a pro.
5. Determination: Something important to remember is you will not be able to see every square inch of the country you visit. You will also not be able to cram in 10 separate visits to the surrounding countries. Pick 4 or 5 weekend trips and a few surrounding cities to visit. If you are not careful you will spend all your time in rushed trips to surrounding areas and never experience the city/country you are actually studying in.
6. Homesickness: The struggle is real halfway through your trip. My best advice for this is: Facetime is your friend. Talking to your friends/family/SO often helps. Also, call your mother. She misses you. Just remember that you have a short time to travel, do and see as much as possible. Don’t spend all your time in your room talking to friends back home when you could be meeting new people and trying new things. That’s the whole point of studying abroad. Make the most of it!
7. Amazement: As in, it’s two weeks before you fly back to Texas and you’re amazed at how quickly the semester flew by. Time to squeeze in last minute souvenir shopping and buy up as much of your new favorite candy as your already bursting suitcase will allow you to take back. Remember, your best friend will judge the strength of your friendship based on the souvenir shot glass you bring back for them declaring how much you heart [Insert country here].
8. Coffee: The week before going home is a roller coaster of feels but consists mainly feeling like you need more coffee. There is the task of packing up your room. Which for me included checking in multiple suitcases on my flight because I bought half of England. I absolutely loathe packing. So, I put this off as long as possible. The only thing worse than packing is unpacking which, let’s be real, I don’t actually do. I just keep using everything out of the suitcase until it’s empty. This week is also the time for saying goodbye to new friends and maybe squeezing in one last turn up. Oh, and also the small issue of any remaining exams or papers that are due on the last day of the semester. Inevitably, there will be at least three.
9. Exhaustion: The long plane ride home leaves a lot of time for reflection on your trip. Or in my case, a much needed nap. After traveling across London with enormous suitcases to the airport, it feels good to sit for 10 hours. I dare to say if you aren’t completely worn out at the end of your study abroad trip, you didn’t do it right. But seriously, looking back it is astounding how much you experience in one semester studying abroad, which brings me to my last feel.
10. Gratitude: Everyone does not have the opportunity to travel the world. If you have the chance you should take it! I promise you will not regret it. I am so thankful for my study abroad experience, I have seen so much. There are some things that cannot be taught in a classroom or from a book and that is what studying abroad is for. Austin is amazing but there are some incredible places to visit. So get yourself to the study abroad office and get excited.