Avoiding Goodbye: The Difficult Part of Studying Abroad

By: Marisa DeRose

By the end of your semester in Florence, it’s natural to be itching to get back to America and to a familiar routine.

Trust me, I am so ready to return home to the land of decent sized coffee and bagels. But as much as I love and miss my family (and bagels…seriously, I’m very open to the idea of having my family meet me at the airport with a bagel from Tim Horton’s ready for me) the thought of leaving this place is bittersweet. Sure, hopefully you’ll be lucky enough to return to Florence some time in the future, but it’ll never be the same. You’ll never get the chance to experience Florence again as the person you are right now.

Knowing the end is near puts you through an emotional rollercoaster because part of you is sad to leave the beautiful city you’ve called home for the past four months, and part of you is yearning to be back with your family and friends. But now that I’m officially less than two weeks away from the end of this surreal semester, I think it’s important to give future abroad students some insight on how they’ll be feeling when it’s time to finally return home, and how to avoid it as long as possible.

Abroad is going to teach you a lot of lessons-about yourself and about life in general. It’s going to change you as a person, and you’re going to grow in so many ways. How living abroad affects you and your views on life is subjective and will be different for each person, but I strongly believe there’s one lesson everyone seems to have in common: you’re taught how it’s possible to be homesick for more than one place. Although most of us already know the feeling of splitting where we call “home” between our university and the town we grew up in, this is on a whole other level. Without having the chance to make a quick trip home for the weekend, or to go home for breaks, Florence truly becomes your “home town.” You’ll quickly realize that leaving here is going to bring on a whole other level of homesickness once you’re back in the states.

So, that brings me to the main point of this entire post. Stay as long as you can! Admit it, who isn’t enticed by the idea of staying longer in Florence and avoiding real world responsibilities back home in America? Well make it happen! Come abroad with the knowledge that staying at least a couple of days, or even a week, after the end of the semester is a great idea. If you’re like most students studying here, you’ll have spent most of your weekends traveling to new and exciting cities, which is all well and good, until your time in Florence is almost up and you realize you wish you had spent more time in your home city. Take that extra week after finals to relax and explore your home town. Because I guarantee you, as much as I’m looking forward to returning home, not even a Tim Horton’s bagel will be good enough to take away the homesickness I’ll be feeling for Florence a few weeks from now.

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love, but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way again.” -Azar Nafisi


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