While most people do not completely fit into one specific category when it comes to extroversion and introversion, I'll preface this post by clarifying that it is for my fellow introverts that would prefer to stay in and watch a movie/TV series alone than to stay in and hang out with a few friends. While this sounds the least bit of entertaining, if you find this to be therapeutic on a regularly scheduled basis, then this might be the right post for you. If you ever feel drained after a long day of socializing with others and cannot wait to enjoy some quiet silence composed of doing absolutely nothing, this post may also be right up your alley.
1. Say yes to only what's best (for you)
While studying abroad is about getting out of your comfort zone, making decisions that keep you feeling whole and happy are important. When you're the only person that doesn't want to participate in an activity, it's easy to feel like you're lame. Don't let these temporary feelings get to you. It's best to partake in activities that bring you fulfillment, and not just those around you.
2. Make time for what you love
It seems like such an obvious thing to do, but between coursework and other obligations, it's easy to neglect the things you love to do most.
Since I have more free time than I normally would during the semester, I've looked into gym and dance studio memberships. After visiting a few places, I've found that dance makes me feel rejuvenated and reconnected to movement, which I haven't felt since my color guard days nearly 4 years ago.
Maybe what you love to do requires less resources, like reading or writing. You'll definitely want to make time for these things as well as seek out the resources to make them happen because it will help you feel more at home.
3. Chase your passions
When I arrived in Brazil, I knew I wanted to learn all I could about my passions, which are education and equality. Regardless of where I travel, I want to learn about how these things function in society, and you may feel the very same about your passions. As introverts, we're insightful thinkers. We like to understand things for ourselves. With this understanding, we can contribute value to society in some way. I naturally keep my ideas to myself, but it doesn't help me gain any new knowledge or make a positive impact.
This is why it is important to reach out to people in the community that are experts in topics that interest you. You could contact a professor, service organization leader, or any other knowledgeable expert that is willing to meet with you and discuss your topics of interest. This is also a great way to interact with locals and potentially practice the language if it's different from your native tongue.
4. Be patient with building relationships
My host program kept me so busy with actives my first couple of weeks in Brazil that I had no time to process whether or not I was developing friendships. Once I moved into my homestay and began classes at the university, loneliness began to sink in.
My introversion translates to me being very reserved. It takes me quite some time to discern that I have a relationship with others. For nearly a month and a half, I felt pretty lonely. However, now that I've been here for 2 months, I have developed friendships.
Keep in mind that when you study overseas, you'll have the opportunity to meet TONS of people, so don't fret when you don't click with people right away because you're sure to meet more. Whether it takes a little longer than expected (similar to my experience), you are going to build relationships.
5. Challenge yourself
This is probably the most difficult one but it's likely to strengthen your character and independence as a young adult. I'll list a few examples of how you can go about challenging yourself, but it's solely based upon your own interpretation.
Regardless of whether the challenge is in or out of your control, know that it's worth it and a little discomfort will only make you stronger.
Remember, introverts are the bomb.com. Boa-Viagem! -xo