Making the move to an entirely different country for a semester or year abroad is an exciting and captivating experience. However, as most will encounter, it can also be quite daunting. Not only are you adjusting to a new culture and lifestyle, you are also far from your family in more often than not a barren apartment, fitted with less than ideal bedding and decor. Fortunately, tweaking your new place to feel more like home is easier than you might think, and can be one of the best ways to ease culture shock and help prevent extensive homesickness. Here are 5 ways to make your apartment abroad feel like home:
1. Fill it with a familiar scent
Nothing reminds me more of home than my favorite scent: Lavender. Filling your new apartment abroad with candles and diffusers that you use back home will be sure to make you immediately feel more at ease. Essentials oils like vanilla, rose and lavender will be easy to find no matter which country you’re studying in. Take some time to shop around at local fragrance stores and grocery shops to find the perfect scent for you.
2. Buy a pillow or comfy throw blanket
There’s just something about a cozy blanket that immediately makes me feel good. Try to find your way to a nearby department store and pick out a plush blanket or pillow to help you feel more at home in your new apartment. Ballin on a budget? Try sleeping with a chunky scarf or even a small towel at night. I promise you’ll, at least, sleep a little better.
3. Clean it up
Your apartment may need a good cleaning before you can ever feel quite at home. Buy some cleaning products (or if you’re lucky there will be some leftover from previous tenants) and get scrubbing! Your house will not only be nice and sterilized but it’ll also help all those candles you purchased get to work! Not into the whole cleaning thing? Hire a maid service to come! Most work at hourly rates that aren’t too expensive.
4. Decorate with personal pictures and accessories
This one’s a no-brainer! Decorating your apartment with personal mementos like pictures and posters that remind you of home will definitely help ease the anxiety of living in a foreign country. Even purchasing some cozy lights, a few picture frames, or a bouquet of your favorite flowers will liven up your apartment and make you actually excited to get back each time you leave.
5. Keep up with your hobbies
Do you love to cuddle up with Netflix at home? Keep that up in your new place! Maintaining your hometown hobbies might help you feel more connected to your study abroad home. Did you read a book every night before bed back in the U.S? Or do yoga when you woke up each morning? Try to continue these rituals in your study abroad country, it not only can help you get into a normal groove during your stay, but it can also get you excited to do your thing at your apartment!
Have any other tips for making your study abroad apartment more like home? Share your ideas below!
As I (sadly) finish up my final days in Florence, I’ve been reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned and the memories I’ve