How I Feel After my Study Abroad Semester

Aaaaaah! I’m finally home… I can’t begin to explain how much I’ve missed my family and friends. It’s a blessing to be back safe and sound. I’m grateful for this opportunity but I’d be lying if I said I felt that way all along…

To start off, I started packing 3 weeks or even a month before I was supposed to leave, that’s just how excited I was haha. At times, I felt so homesick that I started radiating negative energy to everyone around me. The other international students didn’t want to leave and were surprised at how excited I was to go back. How can I not be? I have an amazing, exciting life hamdellah. I have a lot to go back to. Towards the end of the semester, it was hard to remember the reason I chose to go and I honestly couldn’t wait to go back. But if it wasn’t for this experience, I wouldn’t have valued my life in Dubai or how to really be independent & lift myself up whenever I feel down. Because of these five months, I’m sure I can handle whatever comes my way…good or bad.

And now that I’m home, a lot of people keep asking me about my experience which I find so hard to answer. How can I sum up so many mixed emotions into one sentence? It felt like a rollercoaster ride with lots of ups and downs. There were a lot of moments that I will forever cherish and many others I will try to forget. A lot of people ask me if I would recommend it to anyone, my answer is, it depends. These are some points you should think about before taking this decision:

  1. Do it if you’re always looking for a change like me. If you feel like getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new.
  2. Think about everything you’re going to jeopardize by being away, your relationship, your friendships, the opportunities or things you might miss out on back home.
  3. Choose the place you’re going to CAREFULLY! A lot of people ask me why I chose Missouri and the answer is, I didn’t. Well, technically I did but it wasn’t on purpose. I chose four universities in California and when the study away office asked me for a fifth one, I chose Missouri State University without researching the place… four weeks later I got an email saying, “Congratulations! You’ve been placed at Missouri State University!” So yes, you can imagine my disappointment if my expectations were California. BUT that was the reason my experience was different and unexpected. I got the true, midwestern, American experience that I never got before from all the times I visited the US.
  4. Pack lightly haha. I know you think you’ll need that coat or that purse when you leave but believe me you won’t and you’ll end up buying everything there. This is coming from a girl who shipped 2 boxes, 2 bags, 1 carryon, and one backpack…
  5. Be 100% sure you’re IN and you’re doing this! When I arrived, my mom freaked out because of how cold the weather was and insisted on bringing me back to Dubai. To be honest, I wanted to listen to her so badly… I was freaking out myself and just needed to leave. But instead, I calmed her down and I realized I’ve come a long way and remembered all the reasons I chose this! & here I am..

Going back to how I feel now, I feel uncomfortable. There are so many things and people that I got used to that are not with me anymore. I feel like I’m out of my comfort zone again and I have to get used to dealing with the same people I had no problem dealing with before my semester abroad. The only thing that is different now is me. And I’m grateful for this 🙂

Growing up, we take so many things for granted. The food, the people, our parents, and the Arab lifestyle in general. To say the least, we’re used to getting everything delivered to our doorstep even at 1 AM. We’re used to our parents paying our tuition, giving us our allowance every month, and buying us EVERYTHING. But back in Missouri, almost every student works and earns their own money which made me feel like a spoiled brat. So appreciate and thank your parents every chance you get.

The point is, sometimes you need to temporarily get away from your life to realize and see how blessed you are.

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