“This was my first time abroad, so I’d say that it’s okay to be a little bit lonely — you’re in a new place — but it’s all worth it and the things you gain are worth it,” - Gianna Quilici, UNC junior studying in London, England.
“Be open to new things, new foods and new feelings. Getting the most out of your time away is to know who you are as a person, sticking to that, and figuring out how that fits in with this new place.” - Frances Cayton, UNC junior studying in London, England.
“Studying abroad is 70 percent dreamy and 30 percent lonely, but you should 100 percent study abroad in Copenhagen,” - Stephen Rich, UNC junior studying abroad in, you guessed it, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Something pretty unanimous among students who go abroad is the feeling that none of us were prepared for what was to come. Not in an I-forgot-a-toothbrush-and-underwear kind of way, but an I’m-not-sure-how-I-deal-with-an-entirely-new-life sort of unprepared. I think it’s important to know that no matter how many times you go through the checklists advisers give you at study abroad sessions, there’s no way to prepare the parts of you that are going to be challenged and changed.
Studying abroad is lonely. It was undoubtedly the most I’ve been alone, and at times the loneliest I’ve ever felt. But all in all, I think knowing how to endure and overcome loneliness is one of the best things we can do to build character, and like most pain, it is alleviated with time. It’s okay to feel lonely, and it’s okay to say so, too.
It’ll be pretty empty of peanut butter unless you think ahead and pack peanut butter. So pack peanut butter.
You don’t need eight pairs of jeans, but you do need 1,000 pairs of socks.
You’ll have the option to go on once-in-a-lifetime adventures with new friends, and maybe with old ones too. Say yes to as many as you possibly can and sleep later.
But don’t sleep your mornings away. Get up early and go on walks and sit in parks. Again, you’re going to be alone a lot. Celebrate it — don’t hide from it.
Most importantly, remember you’re a student of whatever city you’re in. Ask questions unashamedly, whether it’s about directions or cultural differences. Take every experience in as a learning experience.
Allow any given moment to change you, and don’t expect to come home the same as you were when you left.