The Challenges of being a Study Abroad Girlie

Hello again! It is hard to believe that my semester is starting to wind down, and this is one of my final blog posts. Today, I wanted to go over some of the challenges I have experienced so far when abroad because while it is always fun to tell all of the great stories of studying internationally, I do not want to misrepresent the experience as a whole. One of the biggest challenges I have faced thus far is how unpredictable abroad is. I always recommend taking advantage of as much weekend travel as possible, but travel opens you up to many bumps. I am a very type-A person, who loves to plan, and so many unexpected twists and turns happen while abroad, and you have to roll with the punches. There have been situations where I have not known what to do, plans fell through, and I suddenly had to think very quickly on my feet. I do not have time to panic in situations like these. I have had to become a much more adaptable person through this experience. If you are studying abroad and are similar to me, the biggest advice I can give you is to plan as much as possible for the non-negotiable things such as train tickets and accommodations but leave the rest up to chance. Some of my best memories abroad have come from wandering around the cities with no concrete plans.

A second major challenge I have faced has been very salient this week, with Thanksgiving around the corner. Knowing you are missing out on things at home is hard. I have loved my time abroad, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t have pangs in my chest every time I miss a Pitt football game. Studying abroad, no matter what, can be lonely at times, and knowing that your friends and family are back in the United States going about their daily lives together is tough. A big piece of advice I was given before I left, which I wished I had followed a little bit more, is to limit your social media use. Social media shows the highlights of everyone’s lives, and seeing all your friends posting together may make the loneliness many people are bound to experience feel that much more crushing. This will also be the first Thanksgiving I am not spending with my family, which is a hard pill to swallow, but this is the same for many of my friends abroad. I highly recommend talking to friends about what you are feeling because, most of the time, they are feeling similar, and it is a lot easier to get through these more challenging moments when you know you are not alone. That is all I got for you today; I will write my next post soon, provided I survive skiing in the Alps this weekend!

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