Moving to the other side of the world is the best, hardest time of your life
However, after three months in my room in Syracuse, I can say that all is not as it seems. I had to change and adjust my expectations. After a few weeks, I realized that during this foreign minor, the emphasis would be on the minor rather than the foreign. I really had to go to work and couldn’t plan my trips to New York City and the Canadian city of Toronto.
Within weeks I was depressed, homesick and unhappy. Then a sense of guilt quickly arose. I thought, “I’m here to have a good time, not stress about school.” I was looking for a balance between school and free time, but even when I was relaxing, watching Netflix, and hanging out with friends, I couldn’t give up the urge to show.
That feeling wasn’t new to me, but the high pressure, new language, and different education at Syracuse made it difficult to find balance. I tried to put the problems and feelings I was experiencing into perspective. ‘Getting straight A’s is standard here, but that doesn’t mean you have to participate.’ ‘Of course the lessons are harder if you don’t grow up here and only learn the language later.’ “Life isn’t really about school.”
Putting things in perspective helped to a certain extent. The balance is still unbalanced, but at least I tried to set a different tone for myself. No matter how cute an exchange, not everything on social media is completely true. Yes: I am guilty of sharing highlights only online.
On Instagram and TikTok I only post photos and videos of sporting events I go to or fun activities I do. No one saw how hard it was for me to find a good meal at Syracuse, or how stressed I was from the classes I took here. Since it’s hard to open yourself up on the internet, I think I’ll share only the good moments. Apart from the fact that there is a huge stigma surrounding mental health, people are very quick to make negative comments.
Are you also going to spend time abroad? I definitely recommend it to everyone, but don’t believe everything you see on social media. If you’re currently preparing for a minor abroad, adjust your expectations a bit. Moving to the other side of the world can be the best and hardest time of your life. You don’t usually hear that part everywhere.
“Coffee fanatic. Friendly zombie aficionado. Devoted pop culture practitioner. Evil travel advocate. Typical organizer.”