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By Madison Altenbach, Verto Argentina Spring 2024

Hey everyone! My name is Madison and I am currently studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which is my second semester abroad with Verto! Today I wanted to talk about homesickness, which is what I get asked about the most by people who have never lived abroad before. Graduating high school and moving on to the next steps of your life can be scary no matter what you’re doing, and doing it abroad can make it even scarier. But in my opinion, starting your life as a young adult by throwing yourself into a new and amazing experience despite the fear is the best way to set yourself up for educational, professional, and personal success in the coming years!

Pre-Departure Anxiety

Once learning about Verto and realizing that it might actually be a possibility for me, I was terrified, excited, and every feeling in between. Even though I had been traveling my whole life, it felt so hard to imagine what it would be like to live in an entirely different country for three months without my family, my language, or anyone I knew. I began wondering if I had it in me to handle this big of a change, and asking every what-if question in the book. But how I came to my decisions despite all of the uncertainty, was knowing that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not only to have an amazingly unique experience, but also to grow and transform in ways I could not even imagine. So, I decided: homesick or not, I am going to allow myself this opportunity and accept everything that comes my way throughout my abroad journey. Home will be waiting for me when I get back, and I am not going to let fear stop me from an opportunity like this. So then I was off for my first semester…

Homesickness while abroad

There we were on arrival day, all of us terrified and excited about what was to come, and all of us freshly leaving our homes and families. Throughout the next few weeks, each of us had varying levels of homesickness; some people had a hard time missing their family and their homes, and others weren’t missing home at all. Homesickness can come up in different ways throughout the semester: missing your pets, wanting your own room again, that one coffee shop in your hometown, your mom’s cooking, etc., but the good news is that you never have to go through it alone! With Verto you have the comfort and safe space of your care team and your care team leaders. The care team model gives you such a good support system for dealing with any hardships you have while abroad, as you have your Student Life Coordinator, whose position is meant for emotional support and always having a person to turn to, and you also have all of your peers who are most likely going through similar feelings as you! My personal experience with homesickness was pretty manageable; I have a really close relationship with my family, and the first few weeks of adjusting were the hardest, but after that, my focus was on being present and enjoying everything that my location and community had to offer! Plus, in just 14 weeks you can enjoy all the comforts of home when you return! Here are some tips that helped me manage my homesickness when I did feel it.

Tips to combat homesickness while abroad

  • Bring a few photos from home of your family and friends to decorate your dorm! They’re lightweight, add some comfort, and can make your space feel more like home!
  • Set up weekly FaceTime calls with your family and friends
  • Send pictures of all your abroad adventures! It helps to make the people you love feel closer when they are updated on your life abroad
  • Remember that you’ll be home soon! Your time to enjoy everything that your location has to offer is limited, so enjoy it while you have it 🙂

Doing it all over again

After my first semester abroad, I was planning on transferring to a university in the U.S., but last minute in December, I got an amazing opportunity to study abroad with Verto again in Argentina! I went through all of those same emotions again, but clearly, it wasn’t that bad because here I am again, writing this in a cafe in Buenos Aires, for my second semester abroad with Verto.

Is it worth it?

So after all the emotional rollercoasters that come with studying abroad, is it worth it? Absolutely. I literally would not trade my time abroad with Verto for anything. Starting college abroad taught me the importance of accepting discomfort for the sake of experience, and not letting fear stop you. The global perspective I have gained over the last year will continue to be one of the most important assets for my success and personal growth, and some of the best memories of my entire life have been made during this first year of college spent with Verto. Studying abroad also made me appreciate home so much more, so it truly has positive outcomes all around. If you are considering studying abroad with Verto, I hope this eases your worries and gives you the confidence to move forward with the opportunity:)

Until next time,


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