We all have that 1 item we look for when we’re feeling a little down. It’s that item that you took with you to college from home; the one that makes everything feel grounded again when things are topsy turvy. Whatever that item is you should bring it with you to study abroad (within reason- for example if your comfort object is a 6 foot tall plush giraffe, you’ll need to leave it at home). Why is a comfort object so necessary? Studying abroad is putting yourself in a new environment where everything is different. Even with your preparations on the study abroad experience and handling a bad day alone, you’ll still have a moment of missing home, sadness, or just a general not so awesome day. Why? Because life has constants and no matter where you are in the world, you cannot escape a bad day or feeling sad from time to time. The comfort object does not replace the solo handling of strong, negative emotions to ensure that you do not fall victim to the study abroad blues; instead, it merely is a little something to calm your nerves or lift up your spirits. A comfort object is that little thing in the world that says “Everything is going to be ok. We’ve been through this together at home and we’ll get through this together here too.”
How do you know if you have a comfort object? If there is something that you seek during times of upheaval, confusion or just to feel better- that’s it! Again leave the really big things at home, it isn’t worth the time, money and effort to bring something like the giraffe plush example but everything else is essentially fair game. Don’t be embarrassed to be twenty years old and have a comfort object. It’s perfectly normal (in Andrea’s professional opinion at least)- the only time you have to worry is when you start bringing it with you everywhere but that’s a different story for another day if that’s your issue. So when packing your suitcase for that up-coming study abroad, don’t forget to bring that comfort object!