Leaving Home to Study Abroad: An Emotional Guide | Top Universities

Leaving Home to Study Abroad: An Emotional Guide

By Zain Nabi

Updated January 31, 2023 Updated January 31, 2023

Leaving home to study abroad is not like going for a college field trip or a sleepover at your best friend’s. You will be gone for a considerable period and it should not make you paranoid to see your family members getting emotional time and again as the date of your departure nears.

Similarly, you must keep your cool when close and distant relatives (who maybe have no real influence in your life) start sermonizing on the dos and don’ts of the new place even when they’ve never left their own city, let alone the country! In the part of the world I come from, you will receive their advice again and again... and again, till they see you off at the airport. (Beware; they may well call you and continue preaching even after you arrive.)

Although you will probably be overwhelmed with excitement at the prospect of starting a new chapter in your life, it’s also natural to feel emotional about leaving home to study abroad. There’s no harm in being sentimental, but you don’t want to spend your last few days or weeks getting irritated with those around you, or feeling sad at the prospect of being far away from family and old friends.

Here are my tips to guide you through this emotional phase:

1. Listen!

Whatever those around you are telling you, listen. Yes, you read it correct: listen to them. Make them feel satisfied, as it is their love for you that is forcing them to act weirdly. They care about you and want you to be safe. This doesn’t mean you have to actually act on their advice, but it does mean you should respect it.

2. Spend time with friends & family

While you will make new friends when you study abroad and have loads of new activities to keep you busy, nostalgia will one way or another bother you. Collect as many good memories as possible. Spend time with your loved ones and cherish all the memories; in those times when you feel homesick and unable to concentrate on anything, they might lift you up.

3. Remember they are rooting for you

You may be struggling leaving home to study abroad; you have a room to keep clean, assignments to complete, laundry to do, maybe a part-time job to manage your little expenses, and when you are done doing all that you have to prepare your meal. Sounds devastating, but this is what gives you invaluable life experience. Enjoy it and know that your friends and family are rooting for you.

They trust in you and believe you have the potential to make it big. One of my cousins wrote to me when I told him about my departure: “I am sure you are excited, nervous and perhaps even a little weary all at the same time which is entirely natural – just be positive and re-mindful that we’re all rooting for you and that things will always fall into place.” This is my advice to you. You can choose to ignore it if you like!

4. Have fun & take care of yourself

You are in a new place, new environment and a different culture. Enjoy every bit of it; this time might never come back. But you have to be responsible as well. Even if you are not following the instructions of your family and friends, you must take care of yourself in the best possible way. You are not a kid anymore so make all the decisions carefully and make your experience worth remembering.

Last but not the least; never forget those who care for you when leaving home. Keep in touch while you study abroad. Even an email once in a few weeks/months can suffice.

This article was originally published in May 2013 . It was last updated in January 2023

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Written by

Hailing from Pakistan, Zain finished a Masters of Journalism and International Relations at Monash University in Australia. He is working as a journalist and media trainer in Melbourne along with secretly harboring an ambition to become a filmmaker.


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