You’ve prepped, you’re packed and now ready to start your adventure abroad. There’s only one thing left to do. Say goodbye to your parents, family & friends.
I remember my departure as if it was yesterday. We left the house early in the morning on our way to the airport, when I realised I had left something important at home. We arrived in the nick of time to check in my suitcase and to join the other exchange students.
After a few chitchats, we heard from the organisation that it was time… time to leave! I still get emotional envisioning this, as I see my grandmother release the first tears in our group.
Accompanied by Kelly Clarkson’s Breakway, see the video below for my full departure.
Was I nervous?
Was I terrified?
Would I do it again?
If that means getting to explore the world and become more independent, I would buy a plane ticket now! Though this mindset wouldn’t be present without the support of my family and friends. The people who, despite all my crazy talk, accepted my departure and my decision to choose myself above my surroundings.
Having experienced saying goodbye, I know how difficult and nerve-wracking this can be. By applying these 5 tips during my departure, my experience was a heartfelt one. Here’s to making saying goodbye a heartwarming experience.
1. Focus on the positive
The adventures and memories you are going to make and/or have made should be your strength forward. New people, a new location, a new you! It’s a time for you to start over, and connect deeply with your inner self. Being away is a whole different world, and being away for such a long time is a whole new stepping stone.
The unknown has so much to teach you as long as you embrace that mindset! And remember that your family and friends will remain right where they are when you’re back.
2. Be in the moment
When the time comes to say goodbye, focus on being in that one moment. I can’t empathise how special that moment is and how much you’re going to think about it when you may be homesick. Don’t let your thoughts of the past and future infiltrate that moment. Being consciously aware of what is going on and taking that all in, will eliminate any doubts and fears that may arise. Remember to keep breathing, and pay loving attention to every person you’re saying goodbye to.
3. Prepare for closure
Mentally, this is very important. For me, there wasn’t one day that went by without me thinking about my departure. I was terrified, and at many times started doubting my decision. The only way to prepare for your departure or someone else’s is by simply accepting it.
Accepting the fears, doubts and many other emotions will give you more peace of heart and mind. They may still arise, though you’ll know that deep down you’ve made the right decision.
4. Share your sadness
It can feel horrible saying goodbye to those you love. Though, trust me, all those emotions will eat you up alive if you don’t share them with someone. There have been times I’ve cried my heart out in my mother’s arms, not being able to bear not seeing her for a whole year. You need this release to feel liberated and ready to take on the next step in life, whatever your situation may be. No one can go through this experience alone and neither can you. Share your grief, misery and heartbreak and know that whatever you’re going through, you are not in this alone.
5. Leave on a high
End all interactions on a high note! Know that you have done your best up until that moment. Spend time with the people who mean the most to you in your life. I held a leaving party a week before my departure, and it felt complete seeing all my family and friends together one last time! To top it all off, a small group came together to wave me farewell.
Being together is the best way of saying goodbye.
When the time comes, do it in your own way! Either way, I hope these tips can inspire and help you out too. Don’t worry if you’re an absolute mess when departing. Everyone has their own way of saying goodbye in the moment. As long as stay close to yourself, you’ll look back on the experience as a positive one.
How was your departure experience? Feel free to share your own tips or any experiences in the comments below!
Keep dreaming and believing!