Studying abroad is one of the best experiences college can offer to students – many people rave about how great their study abroad experience was and that everyone should study abroad at least once during their college years. You may have followed their advice and studied abroad this past fall semester and experienced just how great studying abroad is, but may be struggling to readjust now that you are back home for another semester.
While you were studying abroad to study, it was somewhat like a vacation – getting to know another culture firsthand, meeting new people, and building a whole temporary routine while you were away. Just like getting back from a longer vacation, getting back after studying abroad is going to take some readjusting. Whether it’s missing the people you had become so close to while studying abroad, or just the culture and atmosphere, there are some aspects you’ll struggle with more when readjusting when back home. Here are some ways to help you readjust after spending fall semester studying abroad.
The thought of completely unpacking your luggage from studying abroad may be the last thing you want to do, but it’s the first step to fully settling back in. Unpack all of your belongings and set them back into their respective places. Store your luggage out of sight as you set to work to clean and reorganize your living space.
Start off with dusting and wiping off surface areas. Depending on what you did with your living space while you were away – like subletting your apartment or just paying rent while no one was using it – there will be varying levels of dust and grime throughout your living space. Clean your living space so that you can get to your next step – decluttering.
You may have done this before leaving to study abroad, especially if you had to pack up your belongings to sublease your apartment while you were studying abroad. If you haven’t, break your decluttering into categories. Sift through your wardrobe to see if there are any clothes you realized you haven’t worn in a while or the clothes that you packed to bring abroad but never even wore. Sell or donate old textbooks you know you won’t be needed. Create a fresh slate for you to settle back onto.
Once you have cleaned your space and decluttered, make it feel like home again. Rearrange your furniture or decorate your space to bring new life into it. If you bought mementos or took plenty of pictures during your time studying abroad, use them to decorate your space to remind you of your time abroad and incorporate it into your daily life.
Reconnect with your social circle back home
For many, one of the harder aspects of studying abroad is being away from family and friends for a whole semester (or more). The longing is lessened as you form new relationships abroad, but just as you missed your friends and family abroad, you will be missing those you connected with while studying abroad. Reach out to friends and family once you are back home to reconnect.
Organize a dinner or a relaxing movie night with your friends to catch up on each other’s lives. Hear about what they’ve been up to while you were abroad and tell them about your experiences abroad. Surrounding yourself with your friends and family will help you readjust to being back home as you are surrounded by what actually defines your sense of “home.”
Get back into a routine
Another way to readjust after spending a semester studying abroad is establishing a routine once you are back home. If you feel unproductive because you can’t get out of the mindset of missing your time abroad instead of living in the now and getting back to your life back home, try going back to your old routine or establishing a new routine.
This can come in many forms, like going back to your part-time job or getting a new one. Going back to work helps you restart a routine as you get to plan out your days once more with different activities like work and classes. Give yourself daily tasks, like doing laundry or going shopping to restock on household items. Join a sports team or club on campus to reconnect to your world back home and fill your time by making new friends and memories.
Coming back home after spending the fall semester studying abroad can be a different experience for everyone and some people will be able to slide right back to where they left off and others will struggle to readjust once back home. Whatever the case, there are different steps you can take once back to help you get back into your life back home after spending time away and in another routine.