How to deal with pre-year abroad nerves
Rebecca is doing a BA in Modern Languages (German, Russian and Czech) at the University of Sheffield. She spent 6 months of her year abroad working in Munich, and 4 months in Moscow. Here is her advice about how to ensure you're prepared for your upcoming adventure...
No matter how well you prepare for your year abroad, there’s always that niggling voice at the back of your mind. What if I’ve missed a bit of paperwork? What if my apartment is actually a dank and mouldy hovel? What if my flatmate, who seems so lovely over Skype, is actually a lunatic who stares at me while I sleep? Realistically, you know these are (probably) unfounded worries, and, with so much else going on, it’s definitely not worth getting yourself worked up over it. The fear of the unknown is a powerful thing, but here are some tips on how to deal with it and relax about your year abroad.
1. Speak to someone
Sometimes, it really is just all in your head, and it’s only once you say your worries out loud that you realise how ridiculous it is. And sometimes you just need someone to tell you that you’re fretting over absolutely nothing. Worried about missing out on all the fun social stuff? Talk to a friend about it – they’ll be able to reassure you, but once they know you’re worried, they’ll know to put in more effort with your now-long-distance friendship. Worried about homesickness? Tell your mum! She’s almost definitely feeling the same, but knows full well that it will pass.
2. Be prepared
Things will inevitably go wrong on the year abroad – that’s just the way it is. To help yourself worry less about it, be prepared and do your research. Worried your accommodation might fall through? Come up with a list of places you could fall back on. Worried about money? See if it’s possible for you to get a part-time job (if so, what’s available?) and if there’s any extra funding in the form of scholarships or bursaries you could get. Find solutions to possible problems and you’ll feel much calmer if they do crop up.
3. Remember you’re not alone
It’s important to remember that you always have someone to rely on, and whatever’s happened, you’re not the first. Talk to your personal tutor or year-abroad coordinator about any issues you have – they’ll have seen it all before, and worse. And no matter how far away they might feel, your family and friends definitely have your back.
4. Accept your fate
Look – sometimes the year abroad is just going to suck. You’re on your own in a new place where you have no routine or familiar faces and you’re possibly even surrounded by a new language. It’s unlikely that will all go smoothly – just remember that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel and it will all turn out fine in the end!