So you’re going on a year abroad soon? That was me this time last year. I had less than a month before I set off to Germany for 10 months with a suitcase and my nerves in tow. I was anxious, as I expect you are.
And that’s ok. Moving abroad is a big thing. It’s ok to be a little worried about it. But the main thing is you keep an open mind, you don’t close yourself in and say it will be so hard and expect to have a crap time because the risk there is that you will. Instead, have optimism, and curiosity and excitement and a little bit of bravery and independence and enthusiasm.
I’ve recently got back from my year abroad and I found leaving Germany harder than going to Germany. I've had an amazing year. I've been able to travel and see so much of the country, I've met some incredible people from all over the world and I've had so many unforgettable experiences.
Year abroads are one of the best opportunities. If you're going on one soon, you're so lucky you have it ahead of you, because I would do anything to be back in your position. Whether you're studying or working, you are about to meet some interesting and lovely people who you will learn so much from. You will get to experience a different culture that will permanently open your eyes to so much in the world. You will never look at a 'foreigner' in your home country the same, you will be able to relate to them. If you're learning a language, you will gain the ability to communicate to thousands and thousands of people. A year abroad is life changing.
When you are there, make the most of every damn minute. It's ok to have an evening in to catch up on things and skype your family, but try to throw yourself at every opportunity. Go for weekends away with new friends, explore your city and other nearby places, try out new things, meet people. Travelling was one of my favourite aspects of my year abroad, and a lot of Germans said to me at the end that I had seen more of their country than they have. I'm pretty pleased with that.
It's ok to feel homesick by the way. It happens. You will have days when you would rather be at home with your family and the culture you've grown up with. But this passes, so try to beat it and get back to making those memories that will stick with you for the rest of your life.
I wish you the best of luck and hope you, too, have a life changing experience like I certainly did. I'm not enjoying being home as my eyes have been opened to a whole new way of life and everything that is out there - being stuck in a little village with one bus out a day feels so restricting. Wanderlust feelings are strong.
Have loads of fun!