Studying Abroad From Home by Elizabeth Lewis

I sincerely hope that nobody finds themselves in a situation to need this advice, but I think its important to talk about what to do and how to cope when you suddenly find yourself studying abroad from your bedroom/home office, as study abroad students this semester have. Going into the spring 2020 semester I never anticipated that I would be completing my study abroad courses from the home office in my parents’ house, as this is a situation nobody saw coming. During this period, I have had time to reflect and figure out how to get the most out of my courses, complete my work on time and teach myself new material, and most importantly, how to keep my head on straight when everything feels out of control. We have been taught good study skills and how to stay on top of our deadlines, and that’s applicable to any class situation, but what do you do when your Abroad trip gets ended a month and a half early? How do you carry on with classes while processing those emotions?

One of the most important things I have realized is that your study abroad cohort will be a life saver for you. Often times with working online in a remote location, you have to teach yourself a lot of material. A lot of this material may be confusing and you are bound to have questions, and depending on when you are studying, and the original location of your program in relation to where you are now, you can’t always ask your professors. There were many times during this semester that I found myself with homework questions but unable to ask my professor and get a quick answer because it was 3 am in Spain. During times like these I would turn to my friends in my study abroad program. We have all stayed close and our group chat is often times filled with fun stories from isolation and questions about material in our classes or questions about our homework. Even though there is only 8 of us we were always bound to have at least one person who was able to respond and help out. But even when we are completely clear on the classwork, my program group has been imperative in helping me pretend at least for a little bit like life is normal, and it allows me to speak to a group of people who understand exactly how I’m feeling. Although my parents and my other friends are great to talk to and try their hardest, they don’t know my professors, or the way my program was run, or any of the funny “you had to be there” moments. Although I’m no longer in Spain, I can still hold on to the feeling of my trip through my interactions with my study abroad friends. I can complain about a big project we have and I know they will get it. But most importantly, I can remind myself that I am not going through this experience alone.

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