Taking Care of Your Mental Health While Abroad
Written by jaidengoodman June 6, 2022
Traveling can be exhausting and overwhelming for both the body and the mind. Because there are so many changes happening at once, it can be easy to forget about your mental health. In this blog post I hope to offer resources to help other study abroad students find new ways to check-in with themselves before the trip, during their travels, and on the flight back home.
Buongiorno! My name is Jaiden Goodman, and I am a senior studying marketing and entrepreneurial management with a minor in Spanish. It is currently 2 weeks into my time with CIMBA. So far, I have wandered the streets of Venice, marveled at the Statue of David in Florence, visited some of Paderno del Grappa’s quaint neighboring towns, and climbed all 250+ steps of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Although the rush of exploring all Italy has to offer is a relief after 2 years of online/hybrid classes, it can be easy to forget about your mental health. Provided below are some of my favorite resources that I highly recommend to help you slow down, check in with yourself, and enjoy your time abroad. Happy traveling!
- Strolling around the CIMBA campus
The CIMBA campus is in a quaint northern Italian town tucked away at the base of Mount Grappa. Taking a morning or afternoon stroll through the campus can be a great way to decompress after a long travel weekend. There is something about hearing the birds chirping in the campus courtyard and looking up at the mountain ranges in the distance that makes you feel more present and at ease.
Traveling can be exhausting and overwhelming for both the body and the mind. The Headspace app offers meditations and mindfulness exercises narrated by their team of trained wellness coaches. Their “Fear of Flying” and “Leaving Home” meditations are perfect for dealing with those pre-flight jitters or moments of homesickness. My personal favorite is their “Prioritization” exercises. These quick 10-minute exercises have been a life saver when balancing the workload that comes with school, work, and travel abroad. Currently, their student discount is only $9.99 for the entire year, leaving you more money in the budget for gelato!
- Talk with someone you trust
Studying abroad can be frightening, especially if it is your first time moving far away from home. Although you may appreciate the amazing CIMBA experiences, it is completely normal and valid to feel overwhelmed, jetlagged, and homesick. I know it could be tempting to avoid calls home during busy weeks, but I found that scheduling some time each week to talk with friends and family back home can help ease the feelings of being homesick.
Another thing to remember is that you are not alone. Talking to someone you trust about any doubts or feelings of unease can help make the study abroad experience feel less daunting. Every student, whether they talk about it or not, will go through a phase of negative emotions at some point during their stay abroad. I found the CIMBA community to be full of the most understanding and supportive people I have ever met. There are so many resources and activities available to help students as they transition to life abroad. The professors and CIMBA staff are here to listen to your needs and guide you through your study abroad experience.
I personally am what you call a “memory hoarder”, that is, I want to remember anything and everything that happened during my trip once it is over. I love to snap pictures, save the little tickets and brochures I get along the way, and take time to write about my experiences. I cannot recommend writing your memories down enough. Whether you are excited, anxious, or stressed, dedicating 10-15 minutes to write down how the day went can help you process those feelings.
With each new journal entry, you can reflect on all the memories you have created and get excited about all the amazing opportunities there are to create more. Not only can journaling help you express your ideas and emotions, but it also is a great souvenir to look back on after your travels.