When students consider studying abroad, the thought of FOMO creeps up. Students think, “Omg, what will my friends do without me when I study abroad? What will I miss out on in Austin??” It’s easy to immediately think of the things you will miss out on, without even imagining the amazing experiences you will have abroad.
When I studied abroad in the UK, I missed Tex Mex food from Austin. Tex Mex is not as good outside of Texas and there is no such thing as breakfast tacos anywhere else in the world. British food took some time to get used to, but I was able to savor amazingly delicious food around all of Europe that gave me a taste of cuisines from all over the world. Like Indonesian Rijsttafel in Amsterdam and the best Indian food in London. So what I lost in the form of delicious tortillas and eggs, I gained in a new global palette.
While I was abroad, I missed my friends and family, who were time zones away. In the beginning, I would call my family, crying how much I missed them. I would see pictures on snapchat and Instagram of my friends at different events like SXSW, hanging out together, and at other fun events in Austin. I couldn’t help but feel left out, but then I thought about all the once in a lifetime experiences I was having. There I was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, seeing the fireworks over the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and I even took a trip out to Naples, Italy, and met my cousin for the very first time. I gained many lifelong friends from all around the world who still Facetime or snap me to remind me I have a home in Germany or Canada should I come visit. I made memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
So for anyone scared of feeling homesick, remember friends and family are only a Facetime call away and they will be more than thrilled to hear you are having the time of your life. Plus you will meet tons of new friends from all around the world. When I put my phone down, I learned to be more present in the moment and soak in every little bit of the experiences. Austin will always be here, construction, bad traffic and all, when you return. But think, when will you be 20-something and have this once in a lifetime opportunity to see the world. In the wise words from my cousin, an avid traveler, who would slap me be back to reality when I would complain of my homesickness: “You are doing something most people in the world can only dream about. Take advantage because your best years are ahead of you and they pass mad quick.”
This post was contributed by Mariana Tejada, a Study Abroad Peer Advisor. Mariana studied abroad at Swansea University in the UK.
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