Over your study abroad experience, you will likely experience a wide range of emotions towards both your host and home countries. For myself and many of the people I live with abroad, the period leading up to returning home is especially varied from person to person. One of my close friends here in Spain loved the entire experience but cannot wait to go home. She says the first thing she is planning when she lands in the US is driving straight to a Taco Bell. Another friend here is a bit homesick. I, on the other hand, don’t want to leave. Of course, there are many things about home that I miss: my partner, my friends, my family, my pets, Chick-fil-a, and free water at restaurants (just to name a few). That all being said, I feel right now that I could stay here forever. As has long been my plan, I will be moving abroad in the next one to two years, so being abroad now is more of a dream come true than anything else. I mention all of my emotions as well as those of some of my friends to simply show that leading up to your return home, there is a wide range of emotions that you may experience.

Now, you may ask, how do you prepare to leave? Frankly, I think that looks different for each person. What I have found to be extremely helpful for myself is taking time to reflect on all of the amazing experiences I have had over the last two months and remember that this is not my last opportunity to do things as amazing as I have recently. I find comfort in talking with my friends here from both the US and other countries about the things we miss from home. Simply discussing the emotions that you are experiencing can be very soothing regardless of how you feel. Chances are, other people feel the same way and could also use others’ support. I encourage you to open up to the people around you: students, roommates, host families, etc. Allow yourself to feel the emotions and know that it both ok and normal. As you pack up your clothes and cram the new trinkets you have collected over your time abroad into your suitcase, try to be intentional with your thoughts. Take time to reflect on the lessons you’ve learned, and maybe even jot them and your other thoughts down in a note page on your phone to go back and read later.