How To Cope With Missing Your Life Abroad
Some say leaving home to study abroad is the hardest part of the studying abroad process, but for me, missing Tokyo has been the biggest challenge yet. While there are countless articles, tips, and even university orientations to help you prepare for your trip over, there aren’t many resources that tell you how to deal the feelings you might endure after you return home. When you think you are finally settling back into your old lifestyle you might just find yourself yearning for your lifestyle abroad. Here are a few things that I missed, and you might just miss, when you feel like your readjustment back to your old lifestyle just isn’t cutting it anymore.
The first thing I realized was going to be a huge adjustment for me when I returned to Tokyo was losing a bit of my independence (A.K.A. not being able to always do what the f**k I wanted). What that meant for me was going from living by myself to living with five other roomies. This was probably one of the biggest challenges I had to overcome, and I did that by keeping myself busy. Starting a new job, getting back into classes, and hitting the gym regularly has kept be busy since I have been back and given me the similar feeling of independence I had in Tokyo.
After I got my fill of large smoothies and southern comfort food in America, I began to miss the food that overflowed in the streets of Tokyo. Odd things like eggs, fruits, sushi (okay that one is a given), and just Japanese food in general didn’t taste the same anymore. What I did do was remember to appreciate the diverse local food that Orlando has to offer. I also ventured into local Asian super markets that I found to be filled with nostalgic goods (cue happy tears) and made my own damn Japanese food.
Going to a fully immersed language school was probably one of the most academically challenging things I have done, but nothing beats that rewarding feeling of communicating effectively with someone in their native language. That’s why, since I’ve been home, I miss speaking the language. Besides keeping up with studying Japanese, I got involved with the international community on my campus and made friend with native speakers. In a way, being around other Japanese is comforting and being able to communicate is always a confidence booster.
Exploring a new place with new friends builds a type of bond that is hard to describe. You share a common love for your city and the culture you all chose to study in. Since I left, I have been dying to spend time with friends that I left behind. Framing pictures, talking about future plans to travel together, and just keeping in touch are some easy ways I cope with missing my Tokyo friends.
Sometimes it’s hard to put into words what it is exactly that you miss so much from your studies abroad, and it can be even harder to explain how you feel to others. Whether you are missing the hustle and bustle of the city or the simplicity of the countryside, your city or just the lifestyle is what you could be missing. No matter how unsure your future may be, planning a return trip, whether it is 3 or 10 years later, can help you overcome these unexpected feelings. No matter what you miss, remember that there are always ways to cope.