By now as a student traveler, you’ve gotten to know your foreign city, made tons of close friends, traveled as much as you could, and of course, got some studying in there somewhere. Just as you’ve gotten over the homesickness and used to some of the more challenging differences during your study abroad, it’s time to come home. Where do you start? It’s almost as overwhelming as it was to go abroad in the first place!
- Book your flight – This may seem obvious. And as the savvy world traveler you’ve become, you now know, the earlier the better. I hesitated because I did not want to leave. If you give yourself a target date coinciding with something exciting to look forward to at home, it may make your homecoming slightly less heart wrenching. It’s kind of like ripping off a band aid: you just have to do it quickly.
- Take care of your business – This is a very general heading, but really it’s about what I like to call, “life admin.” It’s all the stuff you don’t want to do but know you have to do to make your life easier when you leave. Closing your bank account, paying your library fines, and handing in keys may seem tedious when you’re trying to enjoy the last days in your new home away from home, but it will be a lot more difficult across an ocean or a few continents.
- Pack – It’s annoying, but you have to do it. The more organized everything is going in, the easier it will be to find coming out. It’s a bit different than my original packing tips (http://www.cheapoair.com/miles-away/news/student-travel-packing-tips.aspx), because in this case, you have less choice and more of a burden to just get everything together and home in one piece. Set an earlier-than-necessary deadline to get everything packed so you can really enjoy your last days and nights without the chore looming over your head.
- Say your goodbyes – This is just the worst. There’s no way around it. My only advice is to keep an open and optimistic mind about when you will meet your new foreign friends again. It sounds cheesey but the phrase, “It’s not good bye, it’s just see you later” really comes in handy here. Try to focus on celebrating the year you had and not what you’ll miss after you’re gone.
- Head home and plan your next adventure!
Photo credit: Amy Wiener