Going abroad is so fun, but there is something that I think needs to be talked about: missing home, missing the people, missing the places and the things that I am used to.
There have been so many amazing opportunities, I have met and made friends and I have fallen in love with Wyoming. I had not experienced a longing for home until this past week when my car broke down and I was limited to what was within walking distance of campus.
This inability to go far left me in the mental space of realizing the reality that I am now without a lot of the things that I love so dearly. It was a weird feeling to have. Not quite sadness — more of a longing for the things that I don’t have, which to me feels silly.
I am not unhappy here in any way, which also makes it feel all the more silly as I know that I get to go home, nor I am not here forever. Many warned me this could occur, but because it has been almost two months already I thought I might have jumped over this part.
In a way, I am feeling more torn between two places. I want to be here in Wyoming exploring everything that is new to me and experiencing the excitement that comes with it, but I also want to be in Minnesota with my family and friends.
My friend group back in Minnesota has lunch every Tuesday, my parents and siblings play board games, and my roommates are watching our kitten grow into an adult cat. These were the things that made me realize I was missing out on simple things that I wasn’t aware I would feel left out of.
I am coping with this in a few ways. I have started a podcast to talk about the things that I am doing, feeling, and going through, talking with my roommate, Sophia, as well as setting aside time to talk with all of the people that I love.
By giving myself an outlet, although it is very new, to talk about my journey abroad has made me feel more comfortable addressing my more challenging emotions as well as giving myself a space for sharing the fun parts of my experience. It makes me feel much less isolated internally.
Talking to Sophia, as well as some of the other exchange students, has brought me a lot of comfort. I have enjoyed hearing from them what they love about home and connecting with them about things they miss.
Setting aside time to call my loved ones has been the biggest help to me when it comes to missing them. This has been the biggest way to help curve my longing for home. Although I cannot be there with them, this has made me feel much closer to them.
I wanted to address missing home because it is a part of my journey. It may not be my favorite part, but it is a part nonetheless. It is a reality of doing an abroad program. I am having a great time and I hope that once I have my car back, adventuring will help curb my homesickness and jumpstart some of my exploration bliss that has made my experience here so wonderful thus far.
Header photo: I started a podcast to help feel more comfortable addressing my more challenging emotions as well as giving myself a space for sharing the fun parts of my experience. (Photo courtesy of Andrea Schoenecker)
Write to Andrea Schoenecker at firstname.lastname@example.org