I’m hopelessly behind on ‘blogging’ my year abroad mostly because you want to wait for the perfect moment when you’ve done enough stuff you feel like you have something to write about, then suddenly you’ve done loads and have lots to write about but don’t know what to say…
What I will say is how completely up and down studying abroad is. I’ve gone from moments of overwhelming euphoria driving through mountains and hiking to crying in my room within two days. You find yourself pushing to make the most of all the amazing opportunities but struggling to write an essay and feeling like a complete failure. For me, maybe more than most this is quite extreme as I suffer from anxiety and depression, but it’s mad how much it can fluctuate. What all this is teaching me though is that I can still come out of it on the other side, and if anything it’s a learning process I never expected to deal with but will inevitably help me. Even with some of the problems I’ve had, I wouldn’t for a second take back any of it for some of the amazing experiences I’ve had.
Studying abroad also allows me to put a lot of these issues in to perspective. It’s most likely I’d face many of the same problems if I was back in Manchester, but here I can see the bigger picture and use that to help me when I’m struggling. For example, especially being in California, there is a major homeless problem, with much of it relating to mental health, and though I don’t want to trivialise mine or anyone else who get low or anxious, it helps to see how lucky we are to be in these places, with a support network available to us.
You have to keep remembering that doing study abroad is hard, and its okay to struggle, and to be honest I never realised how much of an achievement it is just being out here is until you start to look back on it. With a new quarter starting, I’m looking forward to getting back in to it, and now knowing all of this, enjoying every aspect.