I have now been living in Italy for just over two weeks, so maybe I’m not the most qualified to be writing this but I can share what I know; and isn’t that what blogging is about anyhow? This is the second time in my life I’ve moved away from the familiar and my support system to start anew. The first time was two years ago when I moved from Westchester, NY to Columbus, OH to start college.
These first two weeks have been very different than my first two weeks at college in both easier and harder ways. Here are some things I’ve done to make the transition a little easier and make this place feel a little more like home.
- Bring Pictures: The first thing I did when I got off the plane was hang up pictures of my friends and family on my walls. Seeing their faces every morning brightens my day and makes the plain room I’m living in a little livelier.
- Create a schedule: The fastest way to make a new place feel like home and not just a long vacation is to develop a schedule. If you’re studying abroad it’s easily done because you will have class during the weekdays with afternoons and weekends off. By doing sightseeing and exploring on the weekends it will put you on a schedule similar to your one at home.
- Talk to locals: If the place you’re living in has a different language this can be pretty tough but all the more necessary. When you start talking to your barista in the morning or someone sitting near you on the bus the people around you stop feeling like aliens and start feeling more familiar. It will make wherever you are feel more comfortable and less scary.
- Understand local culture: mix yourself into the culture as much as possible. If all the locals spend Sunday walking around the city taking it easy, don’t hide in your room watching Netflix- join them. Become a part of the everyday life here.
- Find your people: one of the major reasons you miss home so much is because you’re so far away from your support system. When you’re abroad, it’s much more complicated to get in touch with your advice givers and listeners back home. It’s best to develop a new one filled with people who understand first-hand how you feel and what you’re going through.
- Know where you are: Know the type of government, history, and national news of where ever you are. It may sound silly but walking around not knowing these things detaches you from the country. If you’re living here you should know what’s going on around you.
For more advice and relatable posts about study abroad check back here every week. Good luck and happy travels!