How to Cope When Stuck Abroad

Are you stuck in a foreign country all by yourself? This epidemic destroyed your plans? Well then, that makes two of us. This year, I decided to do my internship abroad, to be more exact in Brno, here, in the Czech Republic. 

When I started this internship at Foreigners I had different expectations and plans. I thought I’d be able to travel a lot, visit new cities, or even different countries. I thought I’d be able to meet new people. But things don’t always go as planned and sometimes you might get yourself in an unpredictable situation. 

A trip to Amorgos island, Greece

What will you do then? Give up? Start getting depressed and wondering what if? Well I guess, you could do that, too. I know, I did at some point. Did it help? Did it solve my current situation? Did it change anything whatsoever? 

I believe you know the answer. The only thing that happened is that I almost turned into a miserable being with no will to function.

And then out of nowhere, the switch in the control center of my brain turned and screamed “ENOUGH!!! No more!!! That’s it, Maria, you’re better than this! You managed to survive during tougher periods of your life, a minor inconvenience cannot and will not break you!”

Encouraging yourself. Τhat’s always the first step. And then comes strength and power. Inner-power to overcome any obstacle that stands in your way.

Then you can turn to positivity. I, for example, dug up my old files to relieve my past adventures. Weekend trips, journeys abroad, different countries, different cities, happy memories with friends, goofy moments. Throwbacks were what kept me going in the very beginning and as I realized, during this process, a smile started appearing on my face, occasionally accompanied by laughter. Day-dreaming. I caught myself starting to dream again and thinking that better days are yet to come.

A road trip to Split, in Croatia with my friend Maria

Would it be any different back at home?

I, also, started wondering “Would it make any difference if you were back home, in Greece? Would the situation be any different?” Not really.

I would still be stuck at home, whether that would be with my parents or with my younger sister, instead of being stuck in Brno with a roommate I barely know. But still, I wouldn’t have much to do either way.

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After all, here I can still go outside for a walk without having to notify the government about it. Yeap, exactly. Right now in Greece people have to inform the government at all times if they decide to step outside their houses, by sending an SMS to state their movement’s reason. And not to forget the part that I’d also need to stay 14 days in total quarantine if I decided to go back now. So, not quite the optimum conditions I would say. Anyway, I came in terms with my current situation and so should you. It will clear your mind from random thoughts that lead nowhere. 

A voluntary program in Brac island, Croatia

For me, the next step to overcome my depression was obvious, exercising, and more specifically, exercising outdoors. Grown-up exercising has been a huge part of my everyday life and I found out that it always brings me joy. Whether that is going jogging in the near park, hiking up at a forest-hill, exercising at the beach, going for long walks, or even following online working-out routines. Especially when it comes to working out in the countryside, I couldn’t be happier. Beautiful scenery always has an immediate effect on my mood. It brightens my day and at that moment nothing and nobody can ruin my mood. 

My view after a hiking session in Trier, Germany

And last but not least, start making plans for the future. Time might have stopped these couple of months but still, that doesn’t mean it is the end of the world. The storm will subside eventually and everything will get back to normal. Think this period as an opportunity to put your life in order, to find out what you want to do next, to set your priorities straight. Of course, things might change in the process but that’s also the beauty of life. If everything went always as planned, without any margin for spontaneity, life would be extremely boring and dull. 

A youth exchange program in Bakuriani, Georgia

Even though I follow all these steps that doesn’t mean I don’t get frightened and anxious over the uncertainty of this situation. But that’s also ok. Don’t try to be perfect. We are humans and that’s normal. My only advice when you get to that point is not to let these feelings control your life. Don’t let them consume you. You are better than that!

If you’d like more ideas on how to pass your time at home, while you’re quarantining, you can check my previous article:

Photoshooting at Foreigners’ office

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Photo source: Maria Daikou


Maria Daikou

Where's the beauty in already knowing what happens next? Embrace the mystery of your own journey and exceed your boundaries. The door is wide open.

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