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When you leave home for college or to study abroad, you leave a lot behind. And when you come back, the things you left might not be the same.
While these may seem like reasons to be apprehensive about moving away or going abroad, I am going to try my best to clear your doubts so the only thing you’ll be pondering in the airport is whether or not you should’ve hugged your mom goodbye one more time.
My first semester at Arcadia was in London. Once I got on that plane, there really was no going back. Everything that isn’t traveling with you, you won’t see until you get back.
No matter what, things are going to change. Maybe there’s a fight in your friend group; maybe you break up with your current love interest. Whatever happens, you just have to roll with it: Do not miss out on college experiences because you are afraid of leaving your relationships for a few months. You only get one chance at life; make the most of it and experience as much as you can.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting you go dark and stop talking to everyone at home. Phones can either be the cause or the cure of homesickness. Apps like Facetime and Skype are useful for staying in touch. If you do not have an international data plan, you could always buy a SIM card and get a temporary new number. Or, if you really want to save money, you could just use wifi whenever it is available. No matter which way you go about using your phone, there is no excuse to not keep in touch.
This also means watching how much social media you use. Do not spend all your time scrolling through Facebook or Instagram to see what your friends back home are doing. Instead, get out there and make some memories of your own for you to reminisce about with your friends when you get back! Enjoying your time abroad or your move to college all comes down to how you manage yourself and your emotions. It’s all about having fun, meeting new people, and making great memories.
It is hard to give advice about returning home from studying abroad (or a semester on campus) because everyone feels differently. Some people can not wait to go home; some people (like myself) are sad to leave all the friends they made, but also happy to return home; and some people are entirely indifferent. Your reaction definitely depends on how much you put into your experience. But as I said before, once you do get home, it may take some time to adjust to the changes and get back into the swing of things, as life did not stop while you were away.
Do not become so attached to your experience that you sit inside wishing you could go back. Meet up with friends and/or anyone you kept in contact with while you were away. They will for sure want to hear all about your semester, and I am sure you would love to tell them. Visit your favorite haunts, or use your newfound independence to try some new things. Probably the most important thing is to keep your ego in check; studying abroad or having an amazing first semester is great and all, but try not to use it in every sentence you speak. Be chill about it—not everyone can be cool like you.
Lastly, keep in mind that while this guide is here to help, it is not a prophecy and should not dictate how your experience goes. It is your experience after all, not mine. I wish you the best of luck on your studies and travels. Have fun and be safe!