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Why It’s Okay To Have The Mid-Stay Blues

This time of my exchange year had come: I had been abroad for five months and I had still five months to go. I felt confused. On one hand, five months is a long time. But on the other hand, time has flown by so fast. Astrid, a French exchange student, wrote on her blog: “I moved from ‘how long I have been here?’ to ‘how much time do I have left?’. I don’t know whether it is reassuring or scary.” I identify myself with this so much.

Now that you know what I meant when I say ‘Mid-stay blues,’ I’m going to tell you how it hit me off guard.

One week, I realized that I was in this mid-stay period and I thought I was totally fine. The moment was more about mid-stay feelings than mid-stay blues. However, this happened:

One night, I came back from a basketball game. I was upset because my coach couldn’t come so we had a replacement coach who made me play for only three minutes during the match. Not a big deal, eh? If it had been any other day, it would not have bothered me and I would not have made a big deal about it.

On this day, though, this little thing became a huge deal in my mind. I couldn’t stop crying and couldn’t help thinking negatively. This sudden and strange reaction was so weird to me because it never happens usually. I told myself “sleep on it”. I went to bed, still crying. I woke up with googly eyes and I still felt bad.

I tried to play music to feel better, which usually works, but it didn’t. So, I came to a point where I told myself: “What’s wrong with you Ondine? This isn’t normal, so you need to find out why!” I asked myself a lot of questions like, “How do I feel inside?” and “Am I homesick?” After a day of reflection, I came to this conclusion:

“Maybe I am homesick. Just because I tell people I’m not homesick, doesn’t mean that I’m not. It’s just an easy answer. Also, I probably tell people I’m not homesick because I think that admitting it would mean that I’m a weak person. Though, I feel weak inside now, and even more so because of this unexpected reaction.

“I let homesickness grow inside me, without noticing it. I think that the homesickness has grown through social medias: most of all, Facebook. I check it too often. Even if I don’t reply, I still read the group conversation I have with friends back home. I know what they are doing without me. This isn’t the only reason for the homesickness, but that’s one of the biggest.

“Another one would be that I don’t have my family here, so at this moment, I miss them (I’m not with a host family so it doesn’t balance, I’m at my great-aunt’s but we’re not close at all). All of this has built up in me and has hit me when I was more vulnerable. Which is actually a lot these days with all of the mixed feelings of the mid-stay period. The basketball game thing was just a little negative stuff that made it blow up. Now I need to focus on myself for a while and listen to myself.”

Then, I played music and I felt way better.

After I took this look at myself, I explained to my French friends how I was feeling and that my solution was to remove Facebook and Messenger from my phone for a while. They totally accepted it and told me they will always greet me with open arms.

As Facebook is the only way for some of the people I know to contact me, I went on Facebook from time to time using my computer. I did it for a month and a half, and since then, I check it more often, but I still don’t have the apps back on my phone. Also, I’ve tried to chat more with my Italian friends during my spare time and to be more honest about how I feel.

The mid-stay period had dredged up hidden feelings and made me have this little sad episode, which is why I call it mid-stay blues. Other exchange students don’t feel anything strange at this period, while others do. This article was about how I experienced it. But is it negative? No, I’ve learnt a lot from it:

  • It’s okay not to be okay abroad. It doesn’t mean that I’m weak. It means I need to understand where it comes from.

  • It’s okay to feel homesick and to miss my family; I won’t lie to myself anymore.

  • Even though I know how to make myself feel better (playing music), a problem can’t be just bypassed. It will be okay when I’ll know what’s wrong and when I’ll solve it.

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Ondine Romanini

Ondine is a 17 year-old student currently in Italy for one year. She was born in Paris and raised in Challans (western part of France). Since her father is half Italian and her mother has traveled a lot, she has always enjoyed traveling. She discovered her will to study abroad during the visit of an American High School while being on vacation in the US at 14. When she was 15, she had been an exchange student in Australia for 2 months. Back home, she decided to go for it again in Italy. She would like to go to uni abroad and study Communication Science. Ondine has a youtube channel : " Ondine quand ? " in which she talks about her experiences (in English).


2 comments

  1. I believe I am having a few of these feelings myself. I absolutely love it here in Japan and will defiantly be returning int he future but I do miss home from time to time. I would do anything to see my pets and have a good old fashioned burger! I have 2 months left in Japan and I will not let my homesickness get in the way of enjoying my time here.

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