There are only 3 days left of this 100 day adventure in Berlin, Germany. There were many times that it felt like I had been abroad for a lifetime and was never leaving but now as I start to pack, I cannot believe that the time has come to an end. Looking back on my 3 months abroad I have 3 pieces of advice for future study “abroaders”:
- Prepare to get home sick.
I was one of those people who swore up and down that I would not get home sick while being abroad. My family lives in Connecticut so going to school all the way down in Alabama I rarely get to see them. I can’t just take weekend trips home whenever I start to miss my family and I usually only go one once a semester, so I was convinced that being abroad would feel the exact same was as being away at Alabama for the semester. WRONG. Be prepared to get home sick, even if you are like me, mentally tell yourself that you will get home sick because I promise, you will. Being so far away from home, in a new culture and surroundings you are not familiar with, homesickness will hit you. My advice though is to not let it affect you as best you can. I let my homesickness get the best of me and in the end it hindered my experience. When you start to feel that homesick feeling coming on, reach out to people wherever you are. Go out with new friends, explore your new city, do whatever you can to keep your mind off of it. If you let it get to you, you will find yourself inside your room for a solid two weeks missing home when there is nothing that you can do about it. The homesickness will pass and when it passes, you will be thankful that you did not let it keep you from doing things that you wanted to do.
- Pack light.
I ALWAYS over pack. Even for a three-day trip I end up packing more than I need to and that is exactly what I did coming to Germany. I came over with 2 suitcases each exactly 50 pounds, a carry on suitcase and a backpack. At the time, I thought I needed everything and for the first 2 weeks or so I did but once you start traveling and shopping, you will wish you had that extra space in your luggage. As I am packing now, I know my bags will be overweight and I ended up not getting to buy everything I wanted to for gifts or souvenirs because I knew I wasn’t going to have space in my suitcase for it. If you love clothes like me, trust me when I say you will shop and end up liking the clothes you buy way more than any of the clothes you brought over from the U.S. In the end it is much more worth it to leave some of your favorite things at home and be able to bring awesome things back from being abroad than bringing everything you love from home and having to leave the awesome things you want to share with everyone behind.
- Do anything and everything you want.
You’re only abroad once so do anything and everything you want to do. Don’t push anything to the side and say “Oh I’ll do that eventually” because sooner than you think the end will come and you won’t have time to do those things that you wanted to do. If it costs money, just do it! You can make up for the money by eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a few nights. Take advantage of the time you have because not everyone has the amazing opportunity to study abroad. It really is a life changing experience. Make the most of it and do not hold back.