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Old 02-09-2019, 11:19 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2016
Studying Abroad and Incredibly unsure of whether or not I want to continue

First and foremost, I'm sorry if this comes across like an annoying first world problem, and if I seem at all ungrateful in regards to the opportunity that I have been presented with. I'd also like to preface this post by saying that I absolutely did not expect to go abroad and naively think that every waking moment would be fantastic.

Earlier this year, I decided to apply to my university's study abroad program. My intention in doing this was to take classes that-whilst relevant to my degree- I am not able to partake in back home, thus giving me a greater understanding of my prospective profession and the people I may eventually be working with (for the record, I am studying a degree inMusic Composition For Film). At least, that's what I told myself. I have now been in the United States for around a month and I am deeply unsure of whether or not I want to continue.

Of course, one of the problems that I'm facing is homesickness, which was to be expected. This feeling is very easily quelled by calling my parents and friends frequently and reminding myself that this is not permanent, but that's just one of the issues I'm facing.

The other big problem is making friends. Throughout my entire life, I have never had any trouble at all making friends, yet here I can't seem to establish a substantial connection with anybody, no matter if I keep my cool and talk to them the same way I would anyone else. It kind of feels like I'm throwing a bunch of blunt pencils at a dartboard and expecting them to stick. The subsequent loneliness is becoming a huge problem, and as of tomorrow I am starting to see a counsellor to see if I can combat this.

I also feel like I've been lying to myself a fair bit. A lot of my friends from my university at home have taken the year out to do freelance work as composers on various projects and work part-time jobs for the sake of life experience, yet I've moved halfway across the world by telling myself; "I'm doing this for my benefit", and now I'm regretting it because it just feels like I'm taking some kind of extended holiday that's dressed up as being a beneficial study abroad year. As a result, I very much wish that I could return home and focus on building my portfolio and testing myself in the professional world, as well as consistently earning my own money in a part-time job. In many ways, I don't feel like a functioning person.

I've thought of cutting my time here down to one semester (which is much more manageable) and I emailed my university at home to let them know that I am considering that. However, in their response they explained to me that the college that my degree is a part of (Arts college) do not permit one single semester abroad, they only allow for students to do the full year. This was a detail that was completely glossed over and never mentioned during any of our pre-departure meetings. My only choices are to stick it out and miss out on a whole lot of opportunities back at home, or drop out of the program.

I seriously feel as though I am wasting my time here for some ridiculous pipe dream of coming to the United States. I have to stop myself from crying in class or in my dorm room pretty much daily from a culmination of loneliness and my own regret. I am trying extremely hard to find positives in being here, but I am convinced that I have made a mistake.

Once again, I am deeply sorry if this post comes across as a lame sob story from some selfish idiot, or it seems like I am ungrateful for the opportunity of studying abroad. I just really need some kind of advice on how to proceed, and if anyone has had a similar experience I would very much appreciate their input.

Thanks for reading.

Last edited by JJAnon : 02-09-2019 at 11:22 PM. Reason: Missed detail
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:08 PM   #2
I always have a choice
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: sitting this one out in the safety cupboard
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You don't need to be sorry at all. You don't seem ungrateful and it's OK to not be happy with something that might seem like a good situation to someone else- it's not working for you and that's what's important here.

I'm afraid I haven't had a similar experience but wanted to try to offer some thoughts anyway.

That's really rubbish that you weren't aware that you had to stay for the whole year and I guess ideally you'd stay for the year now so as not to have to leave your course? And to me it sounds as though for any opportunity you're missing out on back home, there's an equally good experience that you are getting- surely the extra classes you're taking and the different perspective that it will give you will also be well-thought of when it comes to getting a job once you graduate?

I hope that seeing the counsellor is helpful for you; loneliness can be awful and it must be extra-annoying that your usual ways of making friends just aren't working this time. Have you already been involved with any extra-curricular activities at the place you're studying? If not, maybe that would be worth a go, or alternately you could try looking outside of the school at things you could get involved with in the local community to see if you have better luck with non-students. Even if you don't form proper friendships, having meaningful interaction with people you don't dislike on a regular basis can be helpful in combating loneliness I think.

I hope things start to improve for you soon. Will you be taking a trip back home at any point in the year?

We’ll find a way to fight it, we always have.
It's not how tragically we suffer but how miraculously we live.

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