Living Your Reality after Studying Abroad
Most students who have had the opportunity to study abroad say it is an amazing and magical experience. However, time flies when you’re abroad and before you know it you are back home. Re-acclimating to your old life can be really difficult. So, here are five things you can do – abroad and at home – to make coming back a little easier.
Keep a Journal
You experience a lot while abroad and it can be hard to keep track of everything you do and see. The easiest way to avoid forgetting parts of your experience is to keep a journal. Take a few minutes every night to describe the day’s highlights in a journal or in a document on your laptop. Journaling helps you unwind after a jam packed day and is a great way to immortalize your experience. Looking back to your journal after your trip will help you remember all you did. You can also share your journal with family and friends when you’re tired of recounting your study abroad story for the millionth time.
Photos are a great way to tell a story when you don’t have time to verbally say it. Taking pictures of all the places you go is a great way to remember what you did – and can be helpful when journaling. Now I’m not saying to be an obnoxious tourist but take at least one photo of everything you like. Whether it be a place you went or a cool alley way you saw. If you think it’s important, capture the moment! Once back home you can create an album with your favorite pictures. In the future, you’ll be glad that you decided to capture your time abroad. A picture is worth 1,000 words!
Souvenirs are a great way to commemorate your time abroad. After all, souvenir is the verb “to remember” in French. I went to multiple countries during my study abroad, so I bought a traditional item from each location; berets in France, a wooden figurine in Germany, and lace from Belgium. Looking at these items brings back wonderful memories of where I was and what I did there. If you enjoy a place, buy something that will remind you of it.
Limit Your Talk About Study Abroad
I know. You’re probably thinking, “Why would I do that? People are going to be asking me about it.” Which is true, but they can also get tired of hearing about it. Lots of times we mention it without realizing it or compare our study abroad location to home. This can get annoying for others. It can also make you feel sad and miss your time abroad. Trust me, I did this. Try to be aware of how often you talk about experiences you had while abroad. Instead of comparing how others did things where you went, apply the foreign act to your everyday life.
Apply What You Learned
You probably learned a lot while abroad, whether in class or from the culture you were living in. If you liked a certain custom or food, find a way to integrate it into your home life. Studying abroad makes you grow as a person culturally, emotionally, and mentally. Continue the growth once home. Maybe you’ll help others grow, too.
You experience a new world when you study abroad. It is important that you are productive but also to really savor your time. Taking time to journal, take pictures, buy souvenirs, and incorporate some things from abroad into your daily life will help you preserve the experience and will also ease your adjustment back to reality at home.
Pearson Students who have studied abroad: How did you preserve memories of your study abroad experience? Share by commenting below!
Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog? If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started!