Since my semester abroad in Oviedo, Spain began, I have posted 25 photos on Instagram and 661 on Facebook. In every single one of them, there is something unique, beautiful or heart-warming enough that I justified taking out my camera and snapping a picture. Of those pictures, a portion of them have myself featured in it, and, in every single one of them I am smiling.
I smile in these pictures because that is what you do in pictures. You smile. You pretend life is all right and everything is wonderful and amazing. However, the funny thing about photos is that they only capture one side (usually the positive side) of every story. About two weeks ago, I reached my all time low in Spain.
I was lonely. I missed my friends and family. I missed good ol' American food. During the first month, everything is too new, exciting and hectic to be aware of the differing surroundings. However, after a month the newness begins to wear off and it feels like a horrible trick was played on you. This ‘life-changing-time-of-your-life’ experience you expected is actually a bit more boring and a lot more lonely than you thought. Everything is different and you begin to ask yourself, “Did I make a mistake?”
Though I can't say I still don't get that feeling every now and then, I can tell you that it's gotten a lot better. For me, the week of the 'one-month-in-point' was the most emotionally draining. However, I pushed through and I promise, if you are feeling similarly (whether at Calvin right now or on a study abroad), you will too. I did have a few things, however, to help me in the process. I'll be covering some of the 'mental medicine' I used that week. If you’re studying abroad right now, or are planning on it in the future, try to use these tricks to help get yourself out of what I like to call the one-month Study Abroad Slump.