Natalie Witschorik is a student at Iowa State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Natalie is currently studying abroad with ISA in Lima, Peru.
“When you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Well, I wouldn’t claim myself to be in a slump currently. I just got back from a week-long beach vacation. “It was truly needed because I live a tough life,” said no study abroad student ever. But really, if you think about it, we do experience some tough challenges once you get past the glitz and glam of studying abroad. We have willingly said goodbye to our friends and family back home, the comforts of being home and our routines. It is a lot to deal with, especially when you face cultural differences on a daily basis, and sometimes I start to feel homesick.
I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that I am halfway done with my time in Peru. Some days I am thrilled that in just a little under two months I will be back in Minnesota with my parents, my siblings, my friends, my puppy dog and all the snow my little heart could want. Then there are the other days, the majority of days, during which I don’t want to go home and think I could live here until who-knows-when; I have new places to explore and who knows where I might end up! On these days, I can’t help but plan the next twenty adventures that I want to embark on. Who wants to sit still and stay in one spot? That is just silly when there is so much of the world left for me to explore.
While my time here in Lima has been a whirlwind, I definitely value every moment I have here in Peru. I think I would be a bit concerned if I wasn’t wanting to be back with my family but also wanting to plan my next adventure. It is just who I am — a homebody that loves to travel and see the world. I have learned how to cope and not let my homesickness be a distraction or handicap to my experience here. By thinking the following thought, I have learned to value my time here while also knowing it will all be ok.
“I am here currently in Lima, Peru. I am not back in Minnesota or in Ames, Iowa but here in Lima, Peru doing something that is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I better not pass up a single opportunity while I am here because I most likely will not have the chance to do it a second time. I know my family loves me and are patiently waiting for me to return, and as for my friends, they will still be there for me once I return too.”
This thought helps me when I am having a bad day or am feeling homesick. I just think, what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, because if I can do this, I can do just about anything.
I studied in Costa Rica this summer. You are doing well. Everything you are feeling is real. Don’t let the glamorous side of study abroad discredit your feelings. Take good care of yourself. Cheers.
Thanks for the support!