Okay, so you’re abroad. You’re not close to your family or close friends and chances are, the time difference makes it even harder to get in contact. Most people go through something difficult while they are abroad. Whether it’s anxiety, depression, a sick or dying relative, an eating disorder, or any other thing that could be going on, everyone’s got their own problems.
Going abroad itself is a very intimidating and emotional experience. Many people don’t go abroad with friends and have to go through the stresses and pressures of figuring out a new culture, navigating a new place, and making new friends all at once. That can really take a toll on someone, especially if it’s on top of something else.
I’ve personally experienced what I would define as emotional trauma and I’ve watched several others go through very similar things. It’s hard to be away from a regular support system and hard to watch life go on as if nothing happened.
If you find that something very difficult has happened to you while you’re abroad, there are things you can do to help:
Acknowledge that you don’t have to go through this alone. Tell someone you trust, even if you don’t feel particularly close enough to tell them. It not only helped me process things and move on, but it actually made my relationship stronger with the girls I told. I was even more surprised to find out that my other friends has gone through similar experiences only a few weeks earlier.
If you’re working or going to school, inform your professors or supervisors what is going on. If you’re acting strange or not being yourself for a few days, at least they know enough to no add additional unecessary stresses to your life.
Take a break. Sometimes it’s not possible, and that’s okay. But if you get the chance, take a day or two off to really process things. Sometimes you just need a personal day to get everything out. Work out, go on a walk, or do something that both relaxes you and takes your mind off things. I went to the Blue Mountains to hike for three days and it helped me immensely.
It’s not easy to go through something rough at the same time as trying to adjust to life both completely on your own and in a completely different country. Surround yourself with a support group and take some time for yourself to fully process what is going on. It doesn’t make the pain go away, but it does make it easter to handle.