Whether you’re an international student who’s just joined the University, or you’re a home student who’s preparing to study abroad, studying abroad is one of the most exciting and beneficial experiences you can have as a student.
But adjusting to a new country can be scary. It’s natural and healthy to be wary when entering a new place, but it can sometimes go from caution to fear in such an unfamiliar environment, especially if it’s your first time abroad or if you’re alone.
Practising self-care during your study abroad is very important. In between the whirlwind of new experiences, make sure to find the time to check in with yourself and evaluate your wellbeing.
Here are some self-care tips to help you cope with the inevitable ups and downs of studying abroad:
Invest in mental health days
Everyone has different self-care needs and different ways of expressing themselves when things get tough. Take at least one day a week to practice self-care. This could be meditation, journalling, going on a long walk in nature, or trying online therapy – there are many ways to decompress and make sense of things.
All students have access to our Student Assistance Programme which offers 24/7 support. You can also access support and great additional wellbeing features on the Wisdom app.
Find a community
Although the initial weeks can be hectic and may feel like Welcome Week all over again, be brave! You’ve made it this far, maybe you can go a little further. Most people will be feeling the same way and will appreciate you reaching out to them.
Making friends is arguably the best way to make a place feel like home. When you’re so far away from family and friends back home, the new friends you make will inevitably become your family. Join a CSU society or find new friends at the University via the Umii app.
The mental and physical benefits of exercise are well-known, but it’s one of those things that’s difficult to keep up at the best of times – even harder when you’re halfway around the world and you understandably forgot to pack the tennis racket.
Regular exercise, even for short spells, will help reduce stress and help you feel more relaxed in your new surroundings. At UoC, we run free Active Campus sessions and free fitness classes for all students.
Go outside and explore
You didn’t travel all this way to experience studying abroad from your bedroom. One of the best ways to reduce stress is to get away from the busy campus and find solace in nature.
In Chester and the surrounding areas, there are beautiful parks, landscapes, and scenery within travelling distance that you’ve never seen before. Explore those places with your new community or by yourself and see how your mental health begins to improve.
Be kind to yourself
We’re often kind to those around us, but sometimes it can be easy to forget to be kind to ourselves. Self-compassion is the ability to show ourselves kindness, particularly when things don’t go as we might have planned. Speak to yourself with a warm and encouraging voice, as you might do to a friend if they needed support.