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Old 01-12-2020, 02:38 AM   #1
LundiHvalursson
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Default Anxiety from living alone

I am an American who went to uni in the UK. 10000 km (6000 miles) away from home. I always had a lot of anxiety when I was away from my family and living on my own. When I first lived alone as a teenager, plus a foreign student at university, it created huge anxiety. I got over some of it, but it always came back. I am grateful for my time in the UK, because it gave me a lot of life experience, not only from living in a foreign country, but also living alone. But the anxiety remained.

Now I plan to apply to medical schools in Italy. This course is six years long almost anywhere in Europe. I have to live alone, for what looks to be a very long time. Now that I plan to live alone and will almost undoubtedly get the same type of loneliness anxiety, how should I cope?

I am 30, so I am more mature than before. But I still have this weird anxiety from being away from home and my parents. I do not want to sound like some small boy who is afraid, I mean I am an adult. But it just gives me a lot of anxiety anyway.
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Old 01-12-2020, 10:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: Anxiety from living alone

Donít give up. Donít let anxiety win. Follow your dreams.
Make a couple of friends who you feel comfortable talking.
Hopefully people show you understanding.
You can do it!

I never feel grown up but then sometimes I do something and itís I guess I really could do it on my own.

We canít be as alone in this world as we think or feel at times.
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Old 01-12-2020, 11:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: Anxiety from living alone

Lundi, why do you assume that you have to live alone. I think whatever medical school in Italy that accepts you, will have student housing options. At the very least, once you get accepted to medical school in Italy, contact the school's student services division to find out how you can connect with other medical students to room with.

My friend went to medical school in Spain and she lived with some of her classmates for the duration of her medical studies there. She lived in Spain for 8 years. She's always said if it weren't for her roommates, she couldn't have managed medical school alone. She also met her husband in Spain (he's a Spaniard). She recently left the U.S. now to get her medical license in the UK and Ireland (she's living and working in Ireland right now) and plans to move to New Zealand to get her medical license there afterward and will live there for a year (her husband totally supports this too). Then, she will eventually settle in Spain where she plans to open up her own medical clinic. She keeps bugging me to move to Spain so I will wait until she's done her other licensing and traveling and see where she and I are both at, path-wise, in a few years.

So, do NOT give up your dream of medical school in Italy. My god. Italy! Best food in Europe! Do not live alone. Find fellow classmates to rent an apartment with, or dorm with. Doesn't matter that you're 30 years old. America is the only place that promotes living alone as though it were a normal healthy activity, which it's totally not. Italians are the warmest people (next to Portuguese and Spanish). Plan to live with some classmates or at the very least, put an add in the roommate websites used in Europe. Like these: Italy furnished apartments, sublets, short term rentals, corporate housing and rooms. and Roommates in Rome, Italy | Erasmusu.com and Spare Rooms, Flatshares, Furnished Flats Italy | ROOMLALA
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Anxiety from living alone

Thanks for the links. I do look forward to lots of other things, it is just the feeling of being away from my parents seems to cause me a lot of anxiety. When I was a student in the UK, the first night alone I almost had a nervous breakdown since it was the first time that I was alone, and it was out of the country. Several times after, especially after returning to the UK from visiting family during the holidays I also came close to nervous breakdowns.

I think that also homesickness must have played a role. Being in a new place away from family, plus the nervousness of having to do daily tasks on one's own.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: Anxiety from living alone

@LundiHvalursson Here's some information about culture shock and reverse culture shock. Although you have lived in the UK for school already, were you made aware that these two things can create a lot of anxiety for people who live and work abroad? StudentsAbroad.com - Study Abroad Handbook Worldwide: Reverse Culture Shock

I encourage you to read through both stages of culture shock to see where you identify yourself as. Maybe you are in between both stages. Homesickness is a symptom of reverse culture shock too. So everything you've been experiencing up to this point, living abroad is completely normal. When I lived and worked abroad in my 20s, the same happened to me that's happened to you.

I hope that link can help put everything into perspective for you. I think it is awesome that you want to do medical school in Italy.
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: Anxiety from living alone

I did not know really about those things and going back and forth causing anxiety. I think that also I am close to my parents, or better said, to my mother. So when I left and returned, saying goodbye was always hard since I would leave for months before seeing them again.

Also after studying my plan is to stay permanently in Europe to live. So that adds another factor of anxiety.
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: Anxiety from living alone

Lundi I strongly encourage you to figure out a compatible roommate situation for yourself when you move to Italy for your medical school studies. It will ease your culture shock transition a LOT because of the sense of security you'll feel from having a couple of roommates (not to mention, you'll save money). Having roommates is a practical solution to foreseen problems of living abroad. You have someone you can go to when you need help or need information or need support, or need friendship. When I lived in China, each of the visiting instructors had our own furnished 2-bedroom apartments. I was ALWAYS hanging out in the other instructors' apartments, or, would host gatherings in my apartment, or I would keep my apartment door wide open for students and the other foreign instructors to pop in and visit me. It definitely de-escalated my anxiety surrounding myself with people on campus as a visiting instructor.

It's amazing the impact that culture shock and reverse culture shock can have on a person. And we don't even realize it because those effects can last for a long time.

I think it is fantastic that you want to stay in Europe to live and work. Would that I could reverse time, I would have planned out my life to live and work abroad in Europe.
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