We all have to deal with stress at certain times in our lives, and at some times it can be worse than others. Studying can be very stressful for a lot of people, and this stress can be even worse if studying abroad. Not only are we more likely to get stressed out when studying abroad, but it can be harder to deal with too, with family and friends a long way away and potentially even in very different time zones. But don’t despair, because there are ways of coping with stress before it all becomes too overwhelming.
Organised means less stressed
The best thing that you can do to keep stress at a manageable level is to be organized and plan everything in advance. If you know what you have coming up in the week ahead then you’re less likely to get behind, or suddenly remember something you’d forgotten at the last minute and have a big panic about it (or, even worse, completely forget something and not show up or hand in an assignment, leading to more stress about said lapse in memory).
It's time for rest!
You also need to make sure that you have some down time. All work and no play make Jack an incredibly stressed-out student. Join a few societies and sports clubs, both at your college and out in the community, so you meet a range of people. Not only will this give you some time off from thinking about your studies, but also give you the opportunity to make some new friends, who you may need around when you’re not feeling so good. You will also have opportunities for further social gatherings with your new friends; if you’re invited for a party, then go for it! You definitely need some time off.
Stay in touch!
Although it’s important to make new friends, do keep in touch with good friends from home and, of course, your family. If calling and texting is expensive, try and schedule chats over the Internet, as this is free and easy provided you have an Internet connection. Try and schedule a weekly online meeting with the most important person in your life (be it a parent, sibling, best friend or someone else) so you have that chat to look forward to all week. If you don’t have it scheduled then you might find that it hardly ever happens, especially if you’re in different time zones. Chances are, this person will be missing you just as much as you miss them, so they will be able to sympathize with you.
No for Nostalgia!
On the other hand, you shouldn’t obsess over your life back home. Constant messages and calls from a loved one could just make you feel very homesick and depressed, and you ultimately want to enjoy your time studying abroad and experience a new culture, not try and live your old life vicariously through a family member or friend. Try and get the best of both worlds, because coping with stress while studying abroad is all about getting the balance right in every possible way.