ISEP student Joy D. is a student blogger and part of our new ISEP Voices program. She is marketing major from Missouri State University, and is currently studying abroad at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Italy. She shares a couple tips on how it feels to leave for study abroad, and how to cope emotionally.
1. Focus on your study abroad goals, instead of goodbyes
After you get past the emotional goodbye with parents and significant others, leaving starts to feel like a comic book or a video game. Taking those first steps on the plane are the beginning of the mission. Focusing on my study abroad goals and the necessary steps I needed to achieve them helped me feel less scared and homesick as I waved goodbye to my loved ones.
2. Plan out a list of to-do’s before arriving to help with travel
For example, when I left Kansas City my overarching goal was to make it to my hotel in Milan in one piece. However, there were many different steps I had to take in order to make that happen. I had to get boarding passes, manage my layover, get my currency exchanged, get train tickets and taxis, get on the right train and off at the right spot, and eventually after all that, I would have to make it to my location. However, I had researched and planned out my itinerary, and because of that I successfully made it to my destination. I might have had bags under my eyes, and been mentally exhausted, but I was so proud of myself. By preparing for my trip, I learned that I am fully capable of traveling independently and that I could do it all by myself.
3. Don’t doubt your own capabilities
Owning your independence is the most important aspect of your departure day. Back home, there are so many times that we depend on our technology, friends or family to help us through new and unfamiliar situations. However, when I arrived in Milan by myself and without cell phone service or wifi, it made my problem solving and street-knowledge go into overdrive. I loved accomplishing every task and figuring out how things worked in Milan. I even got the courage to test out my limited knowledge of Italian with my taxi driver. Overall, I am very happy with how that the day went.
I don’t mean to say that it has all been perfect. Here are some hindsight tips for when you leave for study abroad:
- Pack a rolling carry-on, because my back is now killing me from carting my heavy backpack around.
- Also, if you have an early flight, make sure you can do early check-in to your hotel. Besides those two simple adjustments, my arrival day went very well and I cannot wait to see more of the city.
*Are you ready for your own independence? See all of your study abroad options on the ISEP website.
Want to see more from our ISEP bloggers? Learn more about our ISEP Voices Spring 2016 group.*
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