Alone Abroad

Caroline Aurigemma is a student at the College of Saint Rose. She is an ISA Featured Blogger, and is currently studying abroad with ISA in Athens, Greece.

While some people study abroad with their good friends or family members, most of us choose to study abroad alone. This was a personal decision to explore, meet new people and experience new cultures. Once on the trip, it sometimes seems hard to be alone. Meeting people, beginning to travel with them; it may feel that fitting in is the new norm and that sometimes our own interests and desires are pushed away to follow that of the groups. There will come a time when you feel as if you need some personal space, or “me” time.

Here are a few tips for spending some alone time abroad!

1. Read a book or listen to a podcast- This year I have introduced podcasts into my daily routine. There are so many to choose from, and they keep your mind stimulated and are often quite thought-provoking. Some of my favorites are investigative podcasts, it is almost like watching your favorite crime TV shows! Up and Vanished, Atlanta Monster and Crimetown are some of my favorites. For more of a light listen, I have been tuning in to The Moth, and The Science of Happiness. Reading a short book is also a wonderful activity, that you can bring anywhere and everywhere!

2.Visit your favorite local spots Taking a small day or even a few-hour trip into the center of the city or country you live in is a great way to explore by yourself. Walking around a flea market or boutiques or even just grabbing a coffee is a way to experience alone time for a few hours, whilst still experiencing what your host country has to offer.

3. Journal- I have gotten into the habit of writing something every day. Whether it is a daily affirmation, a small glimpse into the moment I am having or even a “to-do list,” I find it a crucial part of my day to write and let some of my thoughts wander. Journaling is a way to step back and allow self-realization and ideas to flow. I have found peace and enjoyment from writing for a few minutes a day.

4. Do what is best for you- Overall, you came on this trip as a single special human. You know what you like and don’t like. If you feel overwhelmed by fitting in, or like you’re conforming to what your peers are interested in, begin to adjust your days to include something positive and enjoyable for yourself. For me, taking walks have always been something I loved since growing up. At first, when I arrived in Athens, I dreaded the 15-minute walk to class in the morning. After a while, I began thinking about how much I miss walks with my dog and how it is such a simple pleasure of mine at home. I now value this walk to class, as I am by myself and have time to reflect on my day. These simple steps remind me of what I love, and who I am. 

The world awaits… it!

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