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How to Maintain Your Health While Studying Abroad

May 08, 2024
by CEA CAPA Content Creator
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Overcoming Homesickness and Staying Healthy while Studying Abroad  

One of the most difficult things about studying abroad is leaving home behind. Upon arrival, everything is new and there’s so much to discover (especially during CEA CAPA study abroad excursions in Amsterdam), but as time goes on, the romanticism can wear off and the homesickness can set in. As my studies abroad in Amsterdam ended, I began to experience some feelings of homesickness and stress. 

However, there are many things I do to help ease these feelings! 

Ways to Overcome Negative Feelings while Studying Abroad 

Hobbies 

What I found the most effective is maintaining my hobbies. For example, reading is an activity that I thoroughly enjoy; therefore, to avoid overwhelming negative feelings I did my best to give myself a few hours a day to read and allow myself to relax.  

A study abroad student standing on a dock holding a book

This is a bit of a silly photo; however, I had no other pictures of my reading! I included this to show that I typically bring a book with me when traveling with the intent of reading whenever there’s any down time. 

This helped ease my mind and even allowed me to focus better on tasks at hand (e.g., homework, studying)! 

A large library with many books

This is a photo of the Rijksmuseum Library. Although I couldn't look through the books inside, it felt amazing to be in such a beautiful space. The area is closed off and a “silent space” which added to its beauty and grace. 

Chores 

Another thing I found solace in (which may not be for everyone) is chores. 

Sometimes, things can get hectic, because even though you’re abroad, many of your responsibilities remain. For me, I like to take the pressure off those obligations by turning them into something I can enjoy. Whenever I clean or cook in my apartment, I love to play music, sing and dance as I go.  

A stuffed animal on a bed

The photo here is after I finished tidying up my room. It feels so good to have a clean and dare I say aesthetically pleasing space to share with Tofu (the stuffed cat)! 

I also like to make a little list in my notebook for when I go grocery shopping. Once I get there, I have my headphones on and sometimes even pretend I'm buying groceries for a little family at home! There are so many ways to make daily responsibilities into something you look forward to. 

Self-care 

In my opinion, one of the most important things to do to keep your mind at ease is self-care! When you take care of your body, nutritionally, hygienically, and physically, it truly can help your mental health as well.  

A study abroad student taking a selfie in the mirror

Here I am in one of my favorite shirts after a deeply relaxing shower and night of self-care measures. I was feeling comfortable, rejuvenated, and ready for bed! 

When I make my meals for the day, I do my best to balance my meals so that I’m getting the nutrition I need, but also eating foods that I want and enjoy.  

A plate of food on a table

Here’s a delicious and easy breakfast I usually make for myself in the mornings. On the left is a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana slices and on the right is a bowl of yogurt with granola, strawberries, and blueberries. 

A plate of tacos with cheese and a lime wedge

Here’s one of the many dinners that I made for myself abroad. These are beef tacos with salsa, red onions, sour cream, cheese, and lime juice on top. I even fried the shells myself! 

Personally, I like to set aside time once or twice a week for any sort of extra physical self-care I feel like I need. As for exercise, I can’t say I’m one to go to the gym daily, but I’ll go when I want to.  

A row of bicycles parked on a sidewalk

The beautiful photo here was taken in Haarlem, which is another Dutch city. A friend and I visited that day and did nothing but walk around and take in the scenery! 

I prefer to take leisurely walks and use the stairs whenever possible and that’s entirely okay. Health is about giving your body a combination of what it wants and needs! Do what feels best for you! 

A dirt road through a forest

This photo was from a walk I took on my way to pick up my residence permit to stay here in Amsterdam. My GPS took me a very odd way to the office, but the view was absolutely worth it!  

Connections 

Sometimes it can be difficult to overcome these poor feelings by yourself, but the best thing is you don’t have to! People in your program are likely feeling the same way and that you truly aren’t alone in this feat.  

Two study abroad students eating from a spoon

In this photo is both me and my friend Anna. On this night we had a girls’ night at a restaurant close by our apartment building. The waiter was kind enough to give us free tiramisu, which you see us eating here! 

While you’re taking measures to maintain your mental and physical health, others are doing the same and this is something you can do together or just simply being there for each other can make a difference. 

A board with cheese and grapes

This photo is of a charcuterie board my friends and I assembled. We enjoy having relaxing nights where we get together to chat, eat, and sometimes sing and dance.

Alexx White is a CEA CAPA Content Creator who studied abroad in Amsterdam, the Netherlands during Fall '23.


Read more about our CEA CAPA Content Creators.
 
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