Whether you traveled a lot throughout your program or not, it’s likely you will feel burnt out by the end. Being in a new place, meeting new people, and making a new life is exhausting, even if it’s only for a few months.
If you’re continuing to travel…
Many people choose to travel more after their program ends. If that feels right for you, I highly recommend it. For me, it took going to a new country to really get a second wind in terms of desire to continue traveling.
By the end of my program in Thailand, I was dragging my feet. Due to my visa being single entry, I was only allowed to travel within Thailand the entire time I was abroad. This had its own perks in many ways, namely being that I got to know the country very well. Of course, there was still so much I hadn’t seen.
A couple weeks before my program ended, I decided to spend my last days abroad in Spain visiting friends and family, and essentially taking a vacation from my vacation, in all honesty.
Though I boarded the plane to Barcelona wishing I was going straight home, I left wishing I’d given more thought to how a new country could renew my interest in traveling.
Though I missed the friends I made and Thailand in general–all the places I’d come to be familiar with and so many I regret not knowing better–I think I made the right decision leaving Thailand after my program ended.
However, I wish I’d stayed abroad to travel longer, seeing a few more things before retiring totally.
If you’re going straight home…
First off, don’t be embarrassed. I had a lot of personal shame for going home so soon after my program ended. I felt like if I wasn’t dragged out of Thailand clinging to gangway carpet, I did it wrong.
But that’s not a fair expectation. Just because you want to leave or you feel finished with something doesn’t mean anything about your enjoyment of your time there. I know I loved just about every minute of studying abroad. But by the end, I was tired, to put it simply. Craving going home isn’t failing: it’s natural.
If you think you should push yourself to stay longer, by all means you should do that. However, being miserable in Milan or Stockholm, while more romantic-sounding than being miserable in your hometown, is still being miserable.
Be proud of yourself for the time you spent abroad. Be proud of the friendships you fostered and the sites you soaked in. It may be cliche, but there’s an undeniable truth in the allegory “quality over quantity.”
Bailee Esposito, University of Colorado, studied abroad in Thailand with TEAN.