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What It Feels Like to Arrive on Your Study Abroad

October 21, 2016

A lot happens in the first month of studying abroad. Here’s what it actually felt like for me to arrive in my host country.

Before you arrive:

  1. It’s absolutely terrifying, to be honest.
  2. Traveling alone for a long time sucks. I traveled for 24 hours. I read Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s biography on the plane to increase the feeling of motivation and victory. It only worked for a while and then I went back to feeling nervous.
  3. When you finally get there, you’re so jetlagged that nothing matters and you just want to sleep for a week.

In the first month:

  1. You become shy - really shy.
  2. You start to question everything you are and why you left your home country because this is terrifying.
  3. You’re actually exhausted after doing totally normal and everyday things such as going for lunch or one class, because everything is new and overwhelming.
  4. Overwhelming - that word in its every meaning becomes familiar to you.
  5. You don’t miss home but you kind of feel out place all the time.
  6. Dorms are weird, but also good because it forces you to socialize and make friends with your roommates.
  7. You form a weird but funny connection to the other international students. Everyone is kind of awkward at the beginning but soon you’ll almost feel like family because everyone feels misplaced.

I’m not going to lie - it took me over a month to get over the worst culture shock. The shyness was like going back to elementary school, and was a very weird experience. But as they say; when you are out of your comfort zone you grow as a person and become stronger. Now everything feels easy and I like it here! Southwestern University is located in Georgetown which is a pretty small town, so there’s not much happening here. It felt like a challenge in the beginning when there’s literally nothing to do and your dependent on someone having a car. Soon you find your own place and start to know people who own cars. Now when I think about how nervous I was in the beginning, it feels totally unnecessary. I’m so glad I had the courage to come here!

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