I Got my Ricolas Though

Sarah Jones
Major: Political Science
Universidad de Burgos, Spain, Fall 2018

Mental health is important and studying abroad can be very taxing. Studying abroad requires you to live so far away from the places, people and sights that you’re used to. Often this causes a lot of issues with homesickness, anxiety, and stress. Many people talk about leaving your comfort zone and usually for momentary activities but living abroad is moving into your uncomfortable zone for weeks or months at a time. Therefore, all of these feelings are completely normal and you must remember that. With the advice of the Study Abroad office and others, I made efforts to take note of the things that I needed to be emotionally and mentally healthy when I wasn’t really feeling it like that.

Knowing that you have a support system or a method of properly releasing and dealing with stress and conflict is imperative. Also, helping your fellow program attendees as they embark on this journey with you is a necessity. Many of my fellow classmates struggle with adjusting to this new place and way of living all the way to family issues back home. It’s only human to do so, and I feel that it’s necessary to say that before I continue on with this essay.

I, in particular, have yet to feel a significant amount of homesickness in all honesty.  Additionally, I haven’t had a difficult time with my mental health. However, I had a significant amount of trouble with paying attention to my physical health. Making sure that my body received what it needed at all times was something that often slipped my mind while in the action of having fun.

I got sick many times, I over exhausted myself many times and I was dehydrated more often than not for the first month and a half. Side note: no one else in the world really carries around nalgenes and hydro flasks like us, Americans do. Spanish people think it’s a little bit awkward that we walk around with them like we’re going off on an adventure with limited resources. But sis, life is an adventure, take your nalgene and go have a ball.

Self-care could definitely be bath bombs and candles sometimes. But other times it’s simply drinking enough water each day and taking your doggone vitamins. Or getting a good amount of sleep each night and maybe wear a scarf if it’s chilly out (the gigantic ones are totally all of the rage in Spain right now btw).

Lastly, know where to buy medicine when you need it. I went to three Spanish grocery stores and walked around empty handed for around an hour and a half before I finally got the bravery to finally ask a store attendant “Do you sell ibuprofen and cough drops?” to which they replied with a very confused face, “What? No? They only sell those at the pharmacy??”

In the end, I got my ricolas though.

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