A Captain abroad: Homesick 4,000 miles from home

Homesickness doesn’t have to stop you from studying abroad

I have been in Florence for over a month and I am loving it. That’s not to say I haven’t had some struggles. The two hardest things to overcome during study abroad are culture shock and homesickness.

Culture shock is something you hear about all the time and is something that you never think will happen to you, until it does. 

I have lived abroad and traveled a lot. I thought I would be totally fine. That was not the case. Culture shock doesn’t set in until after at least three weeks, and it doesn’t happen with the big things either. It’s the little things. The missing ice in your drink, the difficulty grocery shopping, the formality of meals (you have to dress nice for every meal; it’s a lot of effort)—that’s what will drive you crazy. 

Despite these obstacles, I have been able to overcome them and adapt into the culture, becoming aware of my differences and respecting them. There will be some things you really don’t like about a new place, and there will be so much that you love. That love will, hopefully, outweigh the bad things.

Now homesickness is a whole other battle. Being homesick can happen anywhere, not just when you’re studying abroad, but it can be a lot harder. For instance, looking on Find My Friends and seeing that my mom’s phone says it is 4,000 miles away is a little unnerving. 

But just because you’re homesick doesn’t mean you’re alone.  I have made sure to branch out and make friends here so that if I ever am feeling down I can lean on them. I also make sure to keep busy.  I remember why I am studying abroad, I can go plan a trip, tour a museum, walk around the beautiful city, or even just go get a little treat to pick myself up. And don’t forget, if you’re extremely homesick, your family is just a phone call away. I make sure to text my family every day and call at least a few times a week. That really helps to make you feel better knowing that you’re so far from home.

Though culture shock and homesickness are real and can be really difficult they are no reason not to study abroad. Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to really dive into another culture and learn more about yourself. I have been able to make so many new friends, travel to so many places, and learn so much about myself and the amazing city I am living in. Don’t let the fear of culture shock and homesickness keep you from doing something that could be one of the best experiences of your entire life.  


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