You’ve made it through the grueling plane ride, lengthy customs line, and collected your luggage. So… now what? Once the initial excitement of studying abroad in a new country wears off, it can be difficult to figure out how to make your new home feel like, well, a home.
It has been nearly four weeks since I arrived at Richmond University in London, so I’ve started to feel pretty well-adjusted. That being said, it was a bit of a process for me to get the that point.
Here are some tips to help you with adjusting to life abroad when you first arrive:
1. Stay Busy
At my home university, I have learned that I function best when my planner is full. If you are like this too, that doesn’t have to change just because you are in a new country.
I recommend planning fun day trips or weekend getaways earlier rather than later. Not only will you save money by booking flights and hostels early, but you’ll give yourself something to look forward to!
2. Participate in Activities
No one loves feeling like they are a freshman in college all over again, but it comes with the territory of studying abroad. As much as you probably don’t want to go to the welcome mixers or participate in ice breakers, just do it. Orientation events are there for a reason, and without them, it could be difficult to meet your peers and find future travel buddies.
While the first few weeks of studying abroad are very exciting, but they can also be exhausting. Continuous socializing while dealing with jet lag can be a brutal combination, so allow yourself time to rest and recuperate. Odds are you probably don’t realize how tired you actually are. Just an hour or two of Netflix or a quick nap can make all the difference in your overall health and happiness.
4. Pace Yourself
Of course, you probably have the urge to see everything there is to see in your new city right away. Trust me, I felt this way, as well. I suggest going to a few major destinations at first, but overall, pace yourself. London, for instance, is an extremely large city with endless opportunities for travelers.
Since I’m here for four months, I am making sure to pace myself. Not only do I still have new adventures to look forward to, but I have been able to truly enjoy the handful of British landmarks I’ve visited so far.
5. Know You’re Not Alone
Here’s a secret… everyone is nervous. Your new neighbors and classmates are probably just as homesick as you are, whether they admit it or not. You are not in this alone, and it’s okay to get emotional during the first few phone calls to your parents.
While studying abroad can be a life-changing experience, that euphoria might take some time to become a reality. Don’t worry if you feel like you aren’t living the picture perfect experience that everyone has promised. Adjusting abroad takes time, but I promise it will all be worth it!