Be present is the single answer I would give to avoid the “fear of missing out” or FOMO. By focusing your attention of being present at your current location, you will start to appreciate your experiences. There are times when you will be locked away in your room studying for tests and go on Facebook to see that your friends are on spring break. Don’t worry too much about it. You’re on a six-month adventure in the most beautiful country in the world. With so much to do, it will be easy to avoid FOMO. Here are some quick tips for a better study abroad experience.

Find something that grounds you

Practicing mindfulness is a great technique to improve your happiness and focus on the things around you. Find a spot in the city and make it your favorite safe space. You can also seek comfort in a song, a book, a stuffed animal that holds special value to you. Take something that brings you comfort. In the midst of all these changes, it will help to have something physically constant with you on your adventure. It can also be a mindset. Remind yourself of what makes you feel good. If you’re really feeling homesick or are having trouble adjusting to being abroad, seek out counseling or talk to a teacher who can help. They can bring you back to center.

TEAN Alum Diana West, Lasell College who studied abroad in New Zealand

Set a schedule

Keep a calendar or make events on your phone so you have a rough idea of what you want to do everyday. This way, you don’t waste any time to stew in the FOMO on social media. Not only will you feel more productive and on top of your schoolwork, you will also be able to focus on cultivating your own experiences rather than looking at other people’s moments.

Calendars are helpful for scheduling.
Calendars are helpful for scheduling.

Talk to Kiwis and students

One of the best ways to reduce your FOMO is by connecting with the people around you. Luckily, Kiwis are very friendly people so they will be glad to share their culture with you, as long as you are also willing to engage with them. Make them a cuppa tea or go out to lunch with them to get to know how they live. This will make you feel more comfortable being away from home and will help you establish your own home away from home. You will be surprised at how much you might have in common with them.

Meeting up with fellow Kiwis for a Flat White is usually the way to go.

Take time away from social media

It’s difficult to stay off social media sometimes, so try limiting the amount of time you spend on these sites each week. This can be difficult sometimes when you just want to share your adventures in New Zealand every single day on Instagram and Facebook. If you do fall into looking at what your friends are doing back home, don’t let it get you down. You are creating memories of your own and their experiences should not devalue yours. Just remember social media should not be about comparing which experiences are better than your own. There is plenty of space to share everyone’s perspective.

Long hikes with no Internet access means no screen time! | TEAN Alum Julia Pines, University of Maryland – College Park

Keep a Journal or a blog

Keeping a journal will help you reflect on everything you do in New Zealand and will help you build an appreciation for your own study abroad adventure. This is a bit different from documenting everything on social media because it can be kept private. This is a chance to be honest with yourself and to stop trying to impress other people with what you are doing. Things happen fast during these study abroad experiences, so keeping a journal will be a valuable resource for you when you reminisce. Also, turning inwards will help you focus more on your own experience rather than other peoples.’

Take some time to reflect on your experiences.
Take some time to reflect on your experiences.

Phillomina Wong is a TEAN program alum and Global Ambassador at the University of Southern California. She studied abroad with TEAN in Auckland, New Zealand.