Chloe – Semester Exchange to St John’s University, NY, USA
Semester 2, 2016
Moving across the globe will prove a challenge if you have never lived away from your home and all its comforts before. It doesn’t matter if you’re an independent person, there is some adjusting that needs to take place.
No, I’m not just talking about the domestic hurdles you will face such as operating a foreign washing machine or trying to buy some bread in the aisle (yes, the whole aisle) dedicated to just bread, for me I found one of the biggest challenges missing the emotional side of home comforts. Having a coffee with mum in the morning, helping her cook dinner, my dog greeting me excitedly when I get home of an evening, or hearing the sound of my dad’s guitar filtering gently through each room of the house.
Fortunately, there are so many ways to connect that I have been able to be around and just with the press of a little button, I’m in my living room chatting with my mum and looking at my puppy again.
Remember that your family will be missing you the exact same amount, so I think it is important to show them you are thinking of them, even if it is only a quick little message every other day. We can get so caught up in living this amazing experience and can inadvertently neglect those back home. A couple of tips I can suggest to keep in meaningful contact with those back home are;
· Send postcards to your family back home, it’s a small gesture but always well received!
· Download apps like Whatsapp, Viber, Skype and Messenger, so you always have a backup plan if one of the apps is temporarily unavailable
· I have sent flowers to my house since being here for my mums birthday which she thought was awesome, and its super easy to do online
Now that you’re ready to take on your new city, two of the most important pieces of advice I can give you is to meal plan ahead, so when you get into the supermarket you’re not overwhelmed and can shop as affordably as possible. Trust me when I say this, save money during the week and opt for simpler (less expensive) meals so on the weekend you can perhaps go out for dinner somewhere nice, or treat yourself to a new pair of shoes.
Secondly, if you are living in a shared style accommodation, it can get a little overwhelming. Because you are with those people 90% of the time, trivial things can sometimes annoy you, for example somebody not hanging up the bath mat. It is important to remember that these things don’t really mean anything, and at this point you’re probably overdue for some time to yourself. Take yourself out for the day and do something you want to do, and you will probably return feeling better than ever!
Just remember, there is nothing wrong with missing home, or wanting some time out. This experience will test you in some of the best ways possible, and the best way to fully embrace it is to roll with the punches and relish in every moment of it!