How to Avoid FOMO while Studying Abroad

Dottie Porter ’20 is a junior environmental science and German major at Elizabethtown College. She studied abroad in Marburg, Germany, which includes a pre-semester portion in Vienna, Austria. Like many students, Dottie had to overcome the feeling of missing out (FOMO) while studying abroad.

Her first biggest struggle abroad involved taking pictures. She was so focused on taking pictures she found herself living behind the lens, instead of living in the moment. After realizing this, she started picking up a few new habits to help her enjoy her time abroad more.

The first bit of advice Dottie has is not to worry about taking the perfect picture, because someone has already done it. The perfect picture is probably being sold at a nearby tourist shop on a postcard. Instead, she recommends taking pictures of yourself and friends.

Dottie also recommends not worrying how to take the perfect Instagram photo. The more focused you are on taking the perfect photo, the less you enjoy yourself. She recommends focusing on memories instead of social media likes.

Some of Dottie’s favorite photos weren’t of tourist attractions. They were of little things like street signs. Although they may appear random, they’re more meaningful because they’re personal.

Taking pictures is a fun part of studying abroad, but the focus shouldn’t be on creating the perfect photo. The focus should be on having fun while abroad.

Dottie also has advice about trying to see everything while abroad. It’s simply not your job. She recommends taking as many chances as you can to explore, but not feel pressured to do something just because you feel like you have to. Instead, you should seize the moment whenever you can and do things because you want to.

Dottie’s best advice is to stay focused on what you want from your experience. Doing this will prevent you from ever feeling like you are missing out.

*Click on the hyperlinks above to learn more about the Marburg, Germany program and to read Dottie’s original blog published by BCA Study Abroad on December 10, 2018. 

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