Studying abroad is one of the greatest experiences you can have in life, but it can occasionally take a toll on students physically and mentally. It’s completely normal to have some bad days; you just need to know how to prepare for it! Whether you’re dealing with culture shock, homesickness, illness or injuries, there are many things you can do to help deal with and prevent these issues.
Text and FaceTime your friends and family from home! It can really help you to not feel isolated when you keep up with your loved ones to help you feel grounded and feel a bit more normal when you’re feeling far away and homesick. Even just hanging out with friends from your study abroad program can ease stress and make you feel excited about your incredible abroad city when you’re feeling down!
It’s so important to remember to make time to take care of your body while abroad. Between traveling, going to school and exploring your city, many study abroad students frequently forget to do this. You can join a gym, or you can just do some at-home workouts and stretches when you have some down time to help your body deal with all the travel and walking you’re doing every day. I personally love to go to yoga every week to prevent my muscles from tightening too much. Stretching on a regular basis is a great way to avoid pain while traveling!
Pay attention to what you’re putting in your body – it may feel like you’re on vacation most of the time, but it's important to drink a ton of water to help you stay healthy and to keep up with all the walking and activities you’re partaking in. You should also make sure to find ways to get some nutrient-rich foods in your diet, including protein, fruits and vegetables! It’s easy to not eat well when abroad, so try to balance it out by going grocery shopping and getting important food groups in your routine. It’s also a good idea to bring some vitamins with you to keep your immune system fighting sicknesses!
Don’t get too caught up in trying to force yourself to have a perfect experience or documenting everything you do. Don’t stress if you have some ups and downs or some things that go wrong, because it happens to everybody and it won’t define your experience. Learn to let go, put down your phone or camera, and soak in your amazing life you get to live while you’re studying abroad. Don’t take a single second for granted!
Whitney Knorp is the Fall 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in Prague, Czech Republic, and is currently studying at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.