Realistic Expectations One Month In To Studying Abroad

March 8, 2017

They always say the first month is the hardest. Granted, they are usually talking about newborns but I feel the phrase still applies here. I’m one month into study abroad and to be honest — this has been the hardest month of my life. Frankly, it’s been a roller coaster. The ups, the downs, the speed, everything feels so out of control and it’s not a great feeling.

It’s not easy to be in a foreign country away from family and friends. Homesickness is a big issue I face and I’m doing all I can to overcome that and make the most of my time here in Finland. Mental health is a big issue too. Most days it feels like my brain hates me and that’s really hard to deal with. It’s frustrating when you want to prosper and thrive in your host country, but you have to fight just to get out of bed and get dressed. Most of the time I don’t know why I’m struggling either. It’s hard to calm myself down if I don’t know why I’m upset in the first place. Perhaps the most frustrating part is I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do. I’m taking my medication, going out with friends and going to class but it doesn’t seem like enough. Unless I’m distracting myself with something, it feels like I’m on the verge of a mental breakdown at any minute.

But, there are bright sides too. I’ve made it one month in another country. I’m living out my dream of traveling the world. Even if I’m struggling now, I know in the future I’ll be proud I took this step in my life. I’ve made friends and formed bonds I know I’ll always remember. I’ve grown as a person even in this short amount of time and I know it’s been for the better. I’ve found new things I enjoy doing (cooking, sauna and more) and I wouldn’t have done those things if I stayed back home. This trip is something that needed to happen and even if I’m struggling, I know I’m in the right place.

I feel like all things happen for a reason and this is one of them. The universe has a funny way of making things happen and this is no exception. I know these are growing pains and with the support of my friends and family I will make it through this. Things will eventually be okay and that’s something I greatly look forward to. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and see where life takes you. It’s a big world, there’s a lot to see and whatever happens, happens.

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