Exeter, Devon UK • May 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home LifestyleCulture A Year Abroad – Managing the FOMO

A Year Abroad – Managing the FOMO

Online Arts + Lit Editor, Gracie Moore discusses the feeling of FOMO when it comes to going on a year abroad. Her own experiences allow her to suggest different ways one can stay connected with home.
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Image: Brett Jordan via Unsplash

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘FOMO’ or ‘The Fear of Missing Out’, common at times when we aren’t at an event or can’t participate in something our friends and family are all doing. In the context of a year abroad, it can refer to the sad or often guilty feeling that is brought on by leaving everything we know behind in the UK to embark on a new adventure.

It can be triggered by many things. Firstly, the stress that arises with the actual move abroad, makes you wish you were simply moving back into a house in Exeter for the third and final year. Also, the idea is that everything you do in Exeter (lectures, balls, TP nights out) is being put on hold for a year while you watch your friends living their best lives on their three-year course. What’s more, it’s stepping out of our comfort zones into the unknown which can cause great anxiety. But nothing good ever came of sticking in the comfort zone; change is always slightly uncomfortable if it’s the right change to make.

Nothing good ever came of sticking in the comfort zone.

In addition, all is not lost as there are many ways to stay connected to loved ones while abroad. In the age of phones and high-speed internet, your Mum will tell you she’s always on the other end of the phone- and she’s right! Scheduling weekly Facetime and frequent calls with your friends and family can be good for keeping up with the UK gossip as well as maintaining a sense of routine while you try to settle in. Also, recreating your bedroom or house abroad to look like home is the perfect way to make a place feel familiar. I personally place a lot of emphasis on doing this as my bedroom is very much my safe haven. So, if I feel safe and at home in my bedroom, this feeling will be reflected in my feelings outside it too. To help with this, it may be nice to put some printed pictures on the wall or wardrobe or even bring your favourite teddy bear with you to keep on your bed!

It can be a lot to take on when beginning a year abroad. It’s overwhelming and the amount of admin piling up before you even begin will leave even the most organised people feeling stressed. It’s important to acknowledge that feelings of homesickness are completely normal as well as everything that comes with it. Sadness, frustration and even tears are a perfectly normal reaction to moving away. It doesn’t make you ungrateful or silly, it makes you human. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those closest to you, especially over the phone- I know first-hand that it’s amazing what the odd Facetime conversation with your sister can do to your mental health.

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