If you’re like me, you love your home and your hometown. You love spending time with your family or joking with your friends or playing with your pets. As a quintessential young adult, I may not always show it properly, but it goes without saying that everyone has that one special place that is close to their heart.
While studying abroad you get to do all these amazing things and go to these incredible places and meet all these wonderful people. But sometimes, in the quiet hour of the night, you think back to your friends or your family or your pets and you miss them.
It’s a few weeks in to my semester here in Ireland and even though I’m having a great time, I still miss my family. So here are my five tips that will help you adjust!
1. Avoid Facebook
Now that’s not to say that you can’t use Facebook at all. Facebook can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family back home! But often times people will sit on Facebook and pine after their friends and what they are missing at home or school. This is backwards! You should be taking advantage of your trip and making everyone else wish they were with you, not the other way around. Let people know you are thinking about them, but don’t let them completely consume your thoughts.
2. Get Involved
Whether you’re in Europe or South America, Africa or Asia, there are always things to get involved in on campus and around your community. NIU Maynooth is great for clubs and activities on campus. They have everything from Disney and Harry Potter clubs to Ultimate Frisbee and Rugby teams! As a proud member of my home university’s Quidditch Team, the Harry Potter club is right up my alley. Having people around you that share your interests will always make you feel more at home. Chances are if you enjoy something, there are others who like it too.
3. Make Friends
It sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? But a lot of people when in a new country are too shy to take that first step and talk to someone. It can feel pretty lonely without someone to talk to. In my experience, people in Ireland are super nice. Both native Irish students and international students are always up for a chat or to help you find a place you’re looking for. It might be out of your comfort zone at first, but if you start that one conversation, you could find friends for life! (I know I have already!)
4. Experience the Country You’re in
It is such a rare opportunity to be able to study abroad in any country. Even though you are there to study, make sure to take some time off and enjoy the sights! Ireland is full of beautiful landmarks and ancient buildings for people like me to soak up. And if you think you want to take some time and visit a neighboring country, not a problem! Airlines to and from European countries are pretty cheap. Go to Venice, fly to Paris, see Amsterdam! The opportunities are endless!
5. Bring a Hobby with You
When you’re not talking to your new friends or exploring the country, it’s nice to have something that is completely you to do. Bringing a hobby with you will make your experience away from home feel closer to home. For me, I love to read and write, so I brought along several books to read as well as the outline of my next book to work on. If you are in to knitting, skateboarding, or painting, it’s perfectly okay to take comfort in that thing and indulge in something just for you.