Turn that Frown Upside Down: Emotional Coping Abroad

Kristie Kovarovic 1

No matter where we go or where we are in life, there are going to be times where we feel sad or lonely. It’s what makes us human. While abroad, there’s no doubt that you will miss family and friends. You’ll question why you feel like this considering all the amazing sights and people around you. But, whether it is your first time away or if you’re a world traveler, it’s normal to miss the comfort of being home. I was gone for a whole semester and missed events like weddings, tailgates, and Thanksgiving. While it was hard at the time, I felt like it was important to stay busy and keep a positive attitude. These are some of the ways I dealt with my emotions while abroad:

  1. Get out! Instead of laying in bed and binge watching The Office, get out! Walk around your city or get a coffee and people watch. Staying inside and feeling sorry for yourself is the worst thing you can do. It is important to take in this new city and culture as much as you can, because when you return you will regret every moment you spent sulking. Getting out of the house and doing something new will distract your mind. You may even meet someone that inspires you along the way.
  1. Stay involved. Just like it is important to get involved at UK, the same goes for your school abroad. It could be a club or attending events your school provides, but it is the best way to meet new people and experience the culture.
  1. Realize that it’s okay. It is hard to accept the fact that you’re in a beautiful country feeling sad, but it is okay! It is completely normal to have these feelings. But, always think positive! Helen Keller once said, “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.”
  1. What makes you laugh until you can’t breathe? Watch the new skit on SNL or Will Ferrell in his classic movies. Smiling and laughing are the best cures to feeling gloomy.
  1. Treat yo self. That’s right… Go get that huge slice of pizza you see in the window every day after class, or that shirt you’ve been eyeing for weeks. You’ll feel better trust me!


Kristie Kovarovic is a senior at The University of Kentucky studying Communications. She participated in the API program in Florence, Italy in Fall 2015.