When the romanticism leaves and you’re left behind

When you have the ability to take a trip, what factors come into your decision making? Is it the cost? Could it be the excitement of traveling someplace new? Or do you consider the stories you’ve heard throughout your life of a place more marvelous and beautiful than your home?

Couples often refer to their first vacation together after their marriage as their honeymoon. Frequent travelers are also familiar with the term, but for different reasons. The honeymoon stage is a period of time when entering a new environment or region and feeling as though the world has never been more bright and colorful. Being so overcome with the joy and the excitement of “living your dream,” one tends to overlook the smaller and not as exciting details. The usual period of time when the honeymoon effect wears off occurs after you’ve already booked your ticket and are making your way back home, but what happens if the honeymoon effect wears off earlier than anticipated? All those little details start piling up, creating a weight heavier than you have ever felt before. Doing so while knowing that your closest support system can sometimes be an ocean away can be overwhelming.

Being away from home for so long can be a challenge. It isn’t easy to take steps in an unknown and uncharted territory. But when you are there and when that honeymoon phase wears off, what do you do?

This is something that is real and often transpires to many people but this is something that can be managed and helped. One doesn’t need to feel alone. If you’re like me, you’ll try to find some familiarity in the environment around you. Look for any details that remotely replicate the feeling of comfortability or home.

I come from a hometown that’s on top of a mountain and rich in forests and lakes. Staying within the inner city of Prato, most of the plants were away for winter. In a city that has been inhabited for thousands of years, not many grassy spots remain but it wasn’t until I ventured outside the city walls – and yes, the city is quite literally surrounded by medieval walls – that I was met with a big luscious park just beyond my residence.

Communicating with those around you is another way one can begin feeling accustomed and less of an intruder to another’s home. Talking with the locals is an excellent way of getting to learn more about customs and the local language, as well as finding out about amazing local treasures that you may have missed earlier. Here in Prato, there is an amazing hiking trail that leads up the mountain range right outside the city that I would have never known about if a friend had not told me.

Getting involved in the communication exchange — a program offered by the university where you paired with a local Italian student learning English — is another great way of becoming more involved in the community. I have been told countless times that people who have studied abroad and participated in the exchange continue to talk to their Italian friends to this day; some have even got married to those they met in this program.

All of these options, on top of many more, are all excellent ways of making your time away from home an amazingly memorable experience. Use the school to your advantage, ask for help if you need it and immerse yourself in the experience.

For more information regarding activities and programs relating to study abroad, check online at the Study Abroad tab under student resources on MyCharger.