1. Make a list of small goals. If you’re working towards something then you’ll feel more accomplished. Have a task to complete every day. Take pictures of the city. Visit Pizzale Michelangelo with a bottle of wine. Start a blog or keep a journal. Try cooking something new. Check off some goals you’ve always had but never had time to accomplish.
2. Keep in touch with people you love from home. If you weren’t as lucky as me to have some good friends come abroad with you, then FaceTime or Skype with friends from home. Talking to people from home always turned a bad day around.
3. Travel. My friends and I took advantage of Italy’s close proximity to other countries and we visited Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, Greece, The Netherlands, and smaller cities around Italy! All it takes is a train ride to get you out of the city for a while and somewhere brand new. A change of scenery does wonders for the soul and is extremely necessary from time to time.
4. Learn everything you can about the culture. I found that I more I knew, the less I felt like an outsider. Try to learn a little bit about the history, language, art, food, and wine. Before you know it, you’ll be a cultural expert.
5. Give yourself time. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Sometimes all we need is time. To think, to make decisions, and to heal.
It’s hard to deny that living in another country changes you. Different parts of your personality come afloat, and you take on qualities, mannerisms, and opinions that define the new people around you. And there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s often part of the reason you left in the first place. You wanted to evolve, to change something, to put yourself in an uncomfortable new situation that would force you to into a new phase of your life.
But despite the occasional lonely moments and short bursts sadness, being abroad taught me so much more than I would have learned by staying in at home. I learned that I loved the serenity of my own independence. It gave me the gift of freedom, new beginnings, curiosity, and excitement.