“Fear of missing out” — more commonly known as FOMO — is a normal and real feeling when you study abroad.
Personally, I sometimes feel like I can’t live in the moment in two places at once.
It’s safe to say that I have made so many wonderful friends while studying abroad in Cannes, France. To try and describe the memories I’ve made would be challenging, even through words or pictures. At the same time, there are times when I feel a bit empty or lonely while living in what I now consider to be my second home here in France.
Although I have learned to live with FOMO abroad, there are times when I feel as though I am missing out on big and major events that are happening at home. That being said, when I chose to study abroad, I understood that might be possible in order to create my own memories over here. While in France, I’ve realized that — even while I am home in the US and at my home university — there will always be something I am missing out on because of other commitments. For example, at home I may be busy with my dance team or at work. All great experiences come with some sort of sacrifice. Sacrificing experiences back home for ones abroad will play out in my favor in the long run. I chose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with AIFS for a reason.
As I try to be independent here and live a new life, I sometimes find myself falling back and wanting to stay behind to FaceTime a friend or a loved one. My parents aren’t always able to FaceTime due to the time change, so this has been something that I have learned to adjust with and adapt to. My friends from school are doing all the typical spring semester shenanigans that I am accustomed to, and I live vicariously through a photo I see on Instagram or a Snapchat story. Fighting FOMO abroad has been tough for me and has sparked a very weird blend of emotions.
Despite FOMO, I’m living out my dreams here in Cannes. I have made such a large dent in my time abroad. As time has passed, I’ve stopped thinking about what’s going on at home. When I continue to comment or reflect on it, the FOMO creeps back in, so I try and stay busy, and have invested my time and energy in new and exciting experiences. The places I have visited and the opportunities I have had thus far in France simply do not compare to what I’m “missing” at home. AIFS gives its students so many opportunities to sign up for weekend travel excursions that are included in program, which leads to weekends away from Cannes, and an opportunity to explore new regions of France. I continue to lunge forward while in Cannes, defying FOMO abroad, and finding so many events and excursions to be excited for. I have taken a dive into the unknown.
As the semester comes closer to an end, I can’t help but reflect on how wonderful my study abroad experience has been. The memories I have created constantly multiply, and it has become easier to enjoy my time here rather than think too deeply about what is happening at home.