Words by Allison Knapp, a CAPA London alumna and Human Services Major from the University of Delaware.
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Like most people, I do find myself having a little bit of FOMO (fear of missing out), which is natural.
Before studying abroad, I thought I would really miss my friends and family and what they were doing back at home. But, I was able to reduce my FOMO while in London for the semester, and didn’t really experience it at all.
Here are a few tips on managing your FOMO while abroad:
1. PUT YOUR EXPERIENCE INTO PERSPECTIVE. Remember how lucky you are. Yes, your friends may be attending football games or brunching at your favorite restaurants, but you are in a different country, learning and embracing a new culture, traveling the world and making new friends. You can’t compare that to anything else, you are truly lucky for this experience!
2. KNOW THAT IT'S TEMPORARY. Acknowledge that it is just one semester. Yes, you may be missing out on some things, but you are making your own memories. Your friends and family will always be back at home. You may be missing a semester, but have had x amount of them already, and will have x amount of them left. This isn’t forever.
3. COMMUNICATE. Talk to your home friends and family regularly. I loved hearing about what my friends were doing, being filled in on the gossip, and telling them about all of my adventures and experiences. I felt more connected to them even though I couldn’t be there physically. Like I mentioned, FOMO is natural, so if you are experiencing it, most likely your abroad friends are too; talk to them as well.
4. BE INVOLVED. Put yourself out there, make a new home in your host city, make friends, explore, stay busy. By creating your own memories with new people, or even by yourself (which is sometimes the best way to explore), it’s easier to forget about what you’re missing. I promise there will be so many things you want to do and see and so little time. Take advantage of it.
Photo: Central London by Stephanie Sadler
5. UN-PLUG. Stay off social media as much as you can. This one was tricky because we all love a good late-night Instagram scroll. Having limited Wi-Fi abroad is a blessing in disguise because it is easier to stay off of social media and be present with where you are and what you are doing. Everyone loves to show off on social media, so by staying away from it, you won’t see your friend's/ family’s posts (on Facebook and Snapchat, too!), and won’t feel like you’re missing out. Trust me, when you post about anything you’re doing, their jealousy is way worse.
6. INVITE VISITORS. Try to meet up with a friend from home, or have someone from your family visit you abroad. I had several friends whose parents, siblings, friends, significant others, etc. visited them while we were in London. I was able to visit one of my best friends from home in her study abroad host city of Florence, too. Having a few days or a week with them is plenty.
7. HAVE A PLAN. Make a bucket list. Everything that I wanted to do, see, eat, explore, etc. in London was on this list. I did not get to everything, but it kept me excited for each day and excited to be in that incredible city, and motivated me to go and do something each day. When you look at your list and all of the amazing things you want to do, you won’t want to go back home (trust me).