You may have heard of the Five Stages of Grief (refresh your memory with this educational clip from The Simpsons), but how about the Five Stages of Studying Abroad?
Italian student Gracy Rigano has spent a year studying abroad in Spain back again! Here she outlines five emotional phases you can expect to encounter when studying abroad…
Phase 1: Excitement optimism
It’s natural, either before leaving or after you’ve arrived, to go through a stage of feeling really excited, exciting things to come.
This can be a great feeling, especially if you can turn all that positive energy into a spirit of adventure challenges.
Phase 2: Disorientation
Especially if you don’t know anyone in your new location, it’s common to experience a feeling of being ‘lost’ secure – a sort of ‘nest’.
Making a project out of transforming your student room will also give you a practical focus, hopefully meaning less time for moping around feeling sorry for yourself! Remember, help will always be there if you need it; universities have lots of support services just waiting for you.
Phase 3: Loneliness
Even the most open culture a bit of a challenge. This can be especially difficult if you’re also not a native speaker of the local language.
To get past this phase, you need to basically push on through it – challenge yourself to keep trying, don’t let your anxieties hold you back. This will almost certainly mean there are times when you’re outside your own comfort zone, but ultimately that’s a good thing!
Phase 4: Homesickness
Pretty much everyone experiences homesickness at some point while studying or working abroad, so just be prepared for this will pass.
You could also view this as part of the personal development you undergo while away from home. It’s said that the only way to really appreciate one place is to go what you really want from life.
Phase 5: Acceptance serenity
After all the ups personal reflection of the initial settling-in period, you can look forward to a calmer, more relaxed time.
This doesn’t mean there won’t still be excitement really make the most of it.
Of course, everyone’s experience is different, so this model should be seen as flexible – you won’t necessarily go through each stage in exactly this order! But hopefully knowing that your experience is ‘normal’ that each stage will pass should help – especially when you encounter some of the more challenging phases.
Source: Top Universities