HOW and WHY to keep in touch with home

Leaving home to study abroad is no small feat.

This means leaving behind everything and everyone you know for a new, personal experience. It is so important to me to keep in touch with those people back home- whether it’s significant others, parents, or roommates. These people who knew me best and could offer support and guidance during this season of change.

Being far from home can be hard and I’ve learned I’ve needed someone to lean on at some point, whether I liked it or not. It’s a matter of when, not if.

One of the hardest adjustments for me was the time difference. Living in Ariccia meant I was six hours ahead of my family and friends in the states. I am the Queen of FaceTime. I use FaceTime not just occasionally to catch up, but multiple times on a daily basis. Not being able to have that part of my daily routine was challenging. I had to make time for these relationships. There are many obstacles, don’t get me wrong. Schedules are unpredictable and while my life was completely different, everyone at home was continuing on. Tests, quizzes, all-nighters were still happening, even if I was no longer there.

My solution was planning. I sat down and looked at my week ahead. I had to ask those I love in advance about when we each could talk, even if only for a few minutes. It was much easier than I expected, it turns out they missed me just as much as I had been missing them.

It was very comforting to share a laugh with Dad after I fell in front of everyone or to tell my best friend that I got separated from friends on a train in the middle of Italy (but thankfully found them a few panicked minutes later).

My advice? Enjoy all of the people you meet and get to know them during your time abroad. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. However, don’t forget about the ones that are cheering you on from across the pond.

-Lindsey Malone

A photo from my first weekend in Italy, which I sent to my family in the states.