1. Immerse yourself in the language. Notice how listening to things you don’t understand all day gives you a slight headache in your left temple and all of a sudden you’re aware of how numb your body feels. Regret your choices. Realize that some things take time and that you don’t always need words to communicate but also remember to pat yourself in the back every time you understand something.
2. Recognize the fact that there will be times you will feel lonely. Know that the past will not let you go like leaves falling from a tree at the slightest hint of autumn, human bonds are stronger than that. Notice that if you squint just enough, the twinkling headlights on highways look just like they do back at home and the trees are almost the same shade of green.
3. Understand that it is okay to start loving your country more than you did before. Your exchange isn’t going in reverse, it is you realizing the presence of the roots that hold you firm when your morality is questioned. Defend them.
4. Not everybody has it in them to pack their bags and leave behind every definition of love they know. Acknowledge your bravery. Engrave in the back of your head that not everyone will understand you and not everyone has the same reasons to leave as you. Learn that nothing is truly good or bad, just different.
5. Look after yourself. Just like your mind, your body is a temple trying to defend you from every speck of your surroundings that don’t belong. It needs rest, warmth and comfort. Don’t push it too hard.
*NOTE: Learn to laugh at yourself in the process.