What No One Tells You About Studying Abroad

wanderlust. travel. seeing the world. all the buzzwords.

everyone claims to want to do it, to love it, to have done it. picture sparkling instagrams of far off places and a life that looks like adventure.

but here’s the thing no one tells you about studying abroad.

it’s like really frickin’ hard. for every perfect picture posted online there’s 7 hours of looking gross and sitting on the airport floor because your flight was delayed again and you probably lost your wallet or broke your phone or haven’t washed your hair in four days and that’s why i’m wearing this headscarf, not to look trendy. for every magical moment with a view you could write a book about, there’s 9 frantic moments when you almost miss your flight or bus or buy the wrong ticket or get locked out of your airbnb. for every blog post about a wonderful weekend in a foreign and fantastic city there’s about 3 squished bananas in your backpack or angry airport security agents screaming at your about taking off your shoes in a foreign language or a dead phone with no outlets for miles. i miss my mom and chipotle and free water and my bed all while having the time of my life.

this is important to realize before your embark on your next great adventure. and it’s important to realize when you’re sitting at home wishing you were staring at some great sea like your facebook friend. and it’s important to realize when you’re just not in the mood for magic anymore. that’s reasonable and normal and half of traveling is screwing it up anyways. it happens. and at a much more frequent rate when you’re living out of a suitcase and don’t speak the language.

studying/traveling abroad is life changing. i am privileged and grateful and so, so, so lucky. 99% of the time i revel in this blessing and soak in this chance of a lifetime. but don’t feel crazy if there are days or nights when you just want to go home, lay in your own bed and not move for months. don’t feel guilty if there are moments when you are not jumping for joy.

enjoy your adventures but know that not every second will be perfect and that’s not on you. make the most of your time, be positive but if shit hits the fan it’s okay to feel like a mess.

that’s the great adventure.

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