If you live in North America or Britain, your semester or term is coming to a close. If not, then you can at least see the end – hooray. What usually is a sweet, sweet moment after everything is over becomes somethng you dread when you’re abroad. If you’re like me and homesickness is a bit of a foreign concept to you, then you just don’t want your time abroad to ever end. I’m going to France next semester and there are a few things that I learned from my first goodbye from Canada that I hope will help me this time:
- As harsh as it sounds, part of the charm of being abroad is that that time is temporary. Think about it this way: would you put off doing all the fun stuff to be able to work if you knew that you only had two more months left for all of it? Sure, that’s how life works as well – we always have limited time – but when you’re in your home city, you don’t think about your time like that – and you just don’t make fun that much of a priority. The lesson here really should be to live your life like that on principle and make the things you enjoy a priority. But the other thing I took away from this is to make myself aware of the fact that during your time abroad, you’re living in a bit of a bubble.
- The second one starts with a general rule: travelling begets more travelling. Or, in a normal person’s words: If you travel more, you meet more new friends from everywhere who you can then visit and meet people there and so on. Basically an application of the rule “where attention goes, energy flows” if you’re into that sort of thing. International friendships aren’t just interesting, they can also save your cheap ass’s travel plans.
You mean to say I can go to a new place, hang out with a great friend, have free accomodation and a local that will show me all the interesting places that haven’t made it onto travel blogs yet? I’d be an idiot not to take that opportunity. And the more trips you take, the more of those kinds of trips you will be able to take. In that way, your time abroad is just the beginning. More trips will come if you make them happen.
- Take some time to travel after the semester is over. Take trips within your trip. Give yourself this time to explore nearby cities and landscapes (or whole countries if you’re in one of our tinier countries in Europe). And save up those trips for when your classes are over. You don’t want to be away every weekend during the semester when everyone else is getting to know each other and your new home – no matter how eager you are to get out there.
Plus, you’ll be happy you still have some time left to do all of that when the semester is over and everyone else is probably not staying in the city anyways. It makes saying goodbye a little bit easier and sweeter.
- A short one for the end: when it comes to finishing end-of-term papers, keep in mind that different countries have different paper formats. Believe me, you’ll need this – you don’t want to hurriedly print out a paper two minutes before you have to hand it in only to find out that you have to turn on your laptop again to change the paper format. Been there, done that. And don’t worry about your exams too much – nobody has ever cared about the grades I got in Canada as long as I passed. So don’t be the tired little monkey: