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Practicing Stillness While Being Abroad

by Jasmine Liu
The Art of Being Present in the Moment While Studying Abroad | AIFS Study Abroad | AIFS in Florence, Italy

The other day, I found myself pondering how I’m going to pack up my room to go back home. Then I proceeded to go on social media for about an hour to see what my friends and family were up to. What in the world am I doing?!? Planning my weeks out and caring about my loved ones is human nature, but I tend to take it to the next level.

Enough time has passed for students to get settled into their new homes for the semester and things have cooled down. The phrase ‘the days are long but the weeks are short’ has never been more true.

When I’m in class, I’m thinking about what I want to do for my next trip. When I’m finishing lunch, I’m thinking about where I want to go for dinner. When I’m in bed, I’m thinking about the million things I have to do. I dwell on things that have happened to my friends and family back home while being all the way across the world.

Through the hustle of planning trips, writing papers, and studying, a short month and a half flew by. Even though I am in the midst of studying abroad in an enchanting city, I still find myself pining for “what’s next?” Along with that, I am spending way too much time trying to see what is going on in the United States. Obviously, this is not the right way to live in the moment and take in the precious time I have here.

In the blink of an eye, weeks have passed and I’m wondering how it happened. I’ve decided to focus on allowing myself to practice stillness and focus on just being.

Even if you are in a different and exciting new place, you can’t escape your bad habits. One of mine has been not living in the moment. To cure this, I find it’s good to take a break from homework and take a stroll around the gorgeous piazze dotted around the city or grabbing a cheesy pizza with my friends.

Taking time away from an agenda is the key for me to relax and take in the present moment. When I return home, I want to apply these tips to my daily life and not fall back into the habit of ignoring the present. Because no matter where you are, it’s easy to fall in the trap of your own shortcomings.

Always stop to smell the roses, take more pictures, and eat more gelato!

This post was contributed by Jasmine Liu, who is spending her spring semester studying abroad with AIFS in Florence, Italy.

The Art of Being Present in the Moment While Studying Abroad | AIFS Study Abroad | AIFS in Florence, Italy

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