What You Should Know When Your Study Abroad Semester Is Coming To An End

By Yasi Agah / Originally posted on yasiagah.wixsite.com/ladolcevita

The day is coming. Studying abroad will undoubtedly be coming to an end…I remember having no idea how to feel. I’ve was totally numb in the days of the early birds who flew back home to the states before me. I watched them go one by one, I was just in a total state of shock. What do you mean the semester is over? Just yesterday I was cooking in my apartment on Via Maggio, getting ready for my day of school and traveling every weekend.

I was panicked because I still had so many things on my bucket list left to do. But then I checked it…wow. I did them all. I really did it. The semester was truly over and I lived it up as much as I could. Not to get too sappy but it was truly the best 4 months of life. I met incredible people, went to incredible places and lived in an incredible city. I learned, I grew, I changed. And then boarding my final flight of the semester. It’s not a blue and yellow RyanAir flight. It’s not a 1-hour flight for a spontaneous weekend trip.

I was going home. Home home. California home. Then what? Going back home after a semester abroad taught me living “la dolce vita” is over (for now…I’ll be back). My last blog. I thought about writing a re-adjustment post when I’m back at school but I probably won’t so here it is. An extremely abridged version summary of what I have learned this past semester.

1. Everything will work out.

When you’re stuck in an unfamiliar city at midnight in the bus station with no communication or phone, you really have to think on your toes. It’s situations like these and many more I have encountered abroad that have pushed me to problem solve and become more independent.

Although these situations seem tragic at the moment, they have always worked out in the end. It’s easy to get frustrated in these situations but it will be okay. It always is!

2. Your true friends accept you for who you are.

My best memories this past semester were when I was being weird as hell with my friends. Sometimes I feel like they think I’m too weird but then again they still stuck around so who knows ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ life’s too short to be serious.

Be who you are, love what you’re doing and live every moment like it’s your last. I’d definitely rather freak people out by being myself than put on a front to please everyone. Thanks to all the crazy friends I made abroad that let me be my wacky self and made me feel loved no matter what!

3. Travel. Go travel.

If it’s just for a week or a month or a year, go and see the world. It completely changes your perspective and teaches you more about yourself than you could have imagined. I really encourage people who are thinking about studying abroad to go for a semester if they can. I personally needed the full 4 months to get what I needed from studying abroad but everyone is different so it depends on what you want!

Leaving my home for 4 months with little communication, a 6 hour time difference and a huge language barrier (I kind of speak broken Itali-glish now!!!) was one of the scariest and most amazing experiences I have ever had. If something scares you, do it! I did a majority of my travels with Bus2alps and they saved me time, money, and headaches by planning everything from transportation, accommodation, and activities to do in my destinations.

And a few tips for those of you looking into studying abroad…

1. Pack something that reminds you of home 

Whether it’s your childhood blanket, your favorite sweatshirt or a family photo bring something that reminds you of home. I brought my Stitch pillow pet (NO JUDGMENT) and it was the best decision I’ve made. Having something familiar makes you less homesick and turns your strange new dorm or apartment into a home.

2. Start figuring out the places you want to travel to now

Do some research online and see the places you want to travel to the most. If you book earlier is usually less expensive. You’ll meet people when you’re abroad who will want to travel too. Bus2alps helped me a lot because the trips were planned easily and there was no need to be stressed. And trust me, I thought I would be stressed at the beginning but it all worked out perfectly. Have a few cities you want to hit in mind and go from there. It’s an adventure after all.

3. Get out of your comfort zone and meet new people

If I hadn’t put myself out of my comfort zone I wouldn’t have met my amazing group of people I hung out/traveled/adventured with for the past semester. Strike up a conversation with the person next to you even if you don’t know them, ask to grab lunch with someone you think is awesome and be inclusive – you’ll meet lots of amazing people if you reach out and make a small gesture. It’s worth it! 

There you have it. How I lived “la dolce vita”. I’ll leave you with a quote that my friend Andie used on her senior page in High School that really resonated with me…

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place. Like you’ll not only miss the people you love, but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place because you’ll never be this way ever again.”