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CGE Storyteller: Michael Kyriakoudes | Travel & Arrival

The day to depart for my study abroad trip has come, and with it followed a whirlwind of emotions. With the excitement, came also anxiety and worry. Saying goodbye to all your friends and family for the next 4 months is a tough thing to do, and for many people can cause homesickness during study abroad. For those concerned about how to handle this, here are some tips for reducing anxiety when traveling to and arriving in a country.

The travel to your study abroad location often is the most stressful part of a study abroad program. With this in mind, it is important to have ways to help yourself relax. I enjoy having a book, tv show, and headphones to listen to music. Having something to keep me busy can often help relieve the stress of travel. In addition, I will also take deep breaths with slow exhales if I feel the stress become overwhelming. Slowing down and taking deep breaths when everyone is rushing around an airport or train station can help you feel more relaxed and in control of your situation. 

Once you have arrived at your study abroad location, pushing yourself to meet people and exploring your town can help you settle in quicker. While you may be exhausted and jet lagged, the first week of a study abroad program is a crucial time to meet friends and settle in. Finding friends abroad early by saying yes to events with people, reaching out to others in your program, and striking up conversations with students in your town are all methods to jumpstart your social life in your new location.  Staying out of your dormitory and keeping yourself busy by meeting people, getting to know your new area, and familiarizing yourself with the culture will accelerate this period of adaptation.

Finally, I recommend you bring something that reminds you of home to have in your room. For me, this foam power T added just the right amount of comfort in my room. When I feel overwhelmed about the new environment, this T is a reminder that my home will still be there for me when I get back, and that this time abroad is an exciting new experience that should be made the most of. 


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