Since being in the Netherlands, I have been exposed to so many new things. I have experienced new cities, new people, new foods and a whole new way of life. While this appears to be all glamour, there are an immense amount of challenges that go with it. You are constantly going to be uncomfortable. It has been almost two months now and I have barely established a routine because their routines are vastly different from the United States.
This leads to a lot of uncertainty and when you stay at home for a weekend instead of exploring, people are quick to ask why. Why aren’t you taking advantage of this opportunity you have? You don’t have time to sleep, why don’t you go out? It is true that most of the time you can find me outside or planning a new trip. However, I still need to take days to unwind in my home away from home like I would at home.
At first, I used to feel guilty about doing this. I felt guilty about sleeping in or watching Netflix for most of the day but then I realised, this is apart of my ritual at home. This is what I would do to unwind from a stressful day and I feel like I stressed myself out more by trying to cut this out of my routine. As a studying abroad student, your routine is completely thrown away and as mentioned in earlier blogs, you need to hold on to pieces of it.
Now I’m not saying stay in your room the entire time. Go out and explore, take a walk, bike around or plan a trip! I enjoy these parts immensely but don’t feel guilty for taking a couple days to recuperate. Never forget that what you are doing is challenging and it is supposed to make you feel uncomfortable. So my advice, future study abroad students? Recognise your uncomfort, take a couple days or moments and then go back out there. But don’t let it control your study abroad and let your room be all that you see.