Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Should I leave early?

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  • This topic has 9 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 5 months ago by avatarcdobbs.
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  • #850280 Reply

    Hello. This is my first time on this site but I am in desperate need for advice. I arrived on my study abroad trip in Vienna Austria 5 days ago. I will be student teaching here and am supposed to stay for 12 weeks, then return home and complete 6 more weeks of student teaching there. The first few days and the weeks leading up to the trip, my anxiety and sadness were completely unbearable and almost debilitating. Yesterday and today were overall good, but I still get definite waves of sadness and anxiety (I’m laying in bed crying as I type this). I reached out to my university supervisor and found out that it is an option for my to leave after 6 or 7 weeks, and complete my longer student teaching placement at home. This is extremely tempting obviously because I miss home but also because if I stay here for the full 12 weeks, due to scheduling issues with other obligations, I will not be able to complete my student teaching until several weeks AFTER my graduation date in December (I’m sorry I know this is a bit confusing). Having to continue student teaching after graduation is so unappealing to me. While this won’t effect my degree or being able to graduate, I would love to walk across that stage, get my diploma and be done! I am here living with a girl from my college, who I never met before coming here. She’s nice enough but we are very different in a lot of ways and let’s just say I know we wouldn’t be friends if we weren’t forced to live together. As cheesy as it sounds, I feel like part of the joy of traveling and seeing the world is doing it with people you love, not strangers. I feel like I’m in this big city and doing some cool things (and a lot of work) but not yet appreciating it to the fullest extent because I’m basically doing it alone. The main thing holding me back is the guilt and shame I would feel leaving early. I am so conflicted I dont know what to do.

    #850283 Reply

    It’s way too early to make that decision. Did they ever show you the diagram of people’s feelings with they study abroad? It’s basically about the fact that everyone feels sad/misses people/wonders if it’s a mistake for the first portion and then eventually feels comfortable.

    Studying abroad isn’t about feeling comfortable. Otherwise, why leave your country? Why not just stay in your regular apartment doing your regular routine? The point is to get outside your comfort zone and experience something new.

    I studied abroad for a full semester. It was rough at first, but then I made friends and got used to my environment and didn’t want to come home. I purposely chose to study somewhere where I’d be going alone, when my friends were going on programs led by my university’s faculty with other students they knew. I felt like I would get a more authentic experience of what it would be like to be someone who was from that country. I won’t speak for everyone, but among my friends and me, I feel that I had a fuller experience. I made friends from other countries and did a lot more stuff outside of classes, etc. They mostly only made friends with other Americans and only tell stories about drinking and stuff together.

    I would say unequivocally that you should not leave early. When you get older, you will wish that you had an opportunity to life in another country for 12 weeks. Most people won’t get that chance again. You also have to learn to trust that just because you feel uncomfortable or anxious, doesn’t mean that you should just retreat back to what’s familiar and realize that feelings change and go away.

    #850284 Reply

    There are lots of fun things to explore and learn in Vienna. It is good for you to be forced to stretch your comfort zone. You need to be able to do that to truly prosper in life. You should be able to make friends apart from your roommate. Once you do that, life will seem better. As far as your roommate goes, it is very possible to become friends with and explore a city with another young woman who is ‘nice enough’, but different in many ways than yourself. That also is an excellent experience for you. As your life progresses, you will need to get along with and be comfortable with nice people who are different than you. As you gain more confidence, you will find that this actually adds a pleasant spice to life. Isolating yourself with people who are too much like you leads to a lack of personal growth and boredom.

    On the plus side, the fact that the past two days were basically good for you says that things are improving. Probably soon they will have progressed to do.

    #850288 Reply

    I think you should try to stick it out. This is an incredible opportunity, one you applied for, right? The first little while might be hard, but you’ll adjust. I don’t think you should make any major decisions right now. Yesterday and today were overall good! That’s good. You’re progressing. You can do this!

    Maybe you could try to think about this another way, instead of being sad about being alone, use it as research. Find all the good stuff now, and bring a loved one back with you next time. Soak it in.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    #850290 Reply
    avatarMiss MJ

    I did a year of study abroad and the first few weeks were really, really rough. That’s normal. I thought about leaving because I was homesick, my roommate and I seemed to have nothing in common, and staying made it so that I needed an extra semester to graduate due to how classes were scheduled. I talked to the admin people who told me to give it 3 more weeks and come back I’d i really didn’t want to stay. I ended up
    deciding to stay and it was the best decision I could have made. I adjusted after a couple more weeks and ended up making new friends (including the roommate I thought I had nothing in common with) that I still have some 20 years later and having so many awesome experiences. Stay, LW. You’ll 100% regret it if you don’t.

    #850292 Reply

    Oh good grief. Stop being a fucking idiot. Young people today are so relentlessly meek and dumb. They constantly shoot themselves in the foot. Seriously. Talk about a wasted opportunity. Squandered. Rush home and what? Be stupid and boring as fuck? Bah… I hate youth.

    #850294 Reply

    Not sure where you have travelled from, but if it was long distance, eg from USA, think hard before cutting your trip short. Travel is a privilege not everyone has, and apart from the wasted opportunity it took a fair amount of resources to get you to Vienna. Just spend the rest of the time going to galleries and seeking out some of the amazing culture I believe Vienna has to offer.Go on your own if you don’t gel with your housemate, you might find some more like-minded friends while gazing on a Klimt or some such. Having to do a bit more study after graduation is a small price to pay.

    #850298 Reply

    Don’t leave early. Walking across the stage at graduation is brief and to be honest, pointless.

    Every day will become easier. Every city has an ex-pat community. Go on line, find out where the people from your country hang out.

    You and your roommate can’t be the only two people in this program, so go ask someone in the program, to hang out. Go into the teachers lounge at work and ask people questions about Vienna. What’s their favorite hidden gem? Would they be up to showing it to you? If you make friends, you’ll have friends. But people in Europe are a little more reserved.

    Travelling with someone you love – yeah, that’s fun. But you’re an adult now. You can do adult things like going to a museum by yourself and enjoying it. I was on a work assignment in Belgium for 6 months. I’m fairly solitary so I was happy being alone but I went to all of the museums, the movies, whatever by myself and when people would come to visit, I’d take them to all the cool places I’d found.

    #850299 Reply

    Stay and complete what you’ve signed up for. Every change takes some adjustment and Vienna is a great city. You’ve almost been there a week already and time will go very quickly after the initial settling in period. If you bail every time something’s uncomfortable, then you’re going to be very frustrated in life. Stop finding excuses.

    I almost think social media makes it easier to feel you’re missing out and it’s so easy to just change a flight online. I went to volunteer for 5 months in India in 2000 aged 18 – it was hard, but I just had to get on with it as my only communication with home was letters or walking a km to a special phone booth.

    Hang out with the person you’re sharing a flat with – just because she’s not who you think is your kind of person doesn’t mean you can’t get along and explore things together. Most of my close friends are not people I clicked with right away and on paper we don’t have that much in common.

    #850305 Reply

    stick it out LW….i know it sounds daunting right now, but believe me the 12 weeks will fly by and before you know it you will be on your way home….i left home (Canada) for graduate school in the US and I was all alone….but i made it (4 years!) and you can do….trust me once you get through this you will be so proud of yourself for having stuck with it….there are always going to be tough challenges in life….take each one as they come….each will build your confidence and give you the tools to tackle new challenges….You can do it!

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