You arrived at your boarding school a few days or weeks ago. How can you get used to this new lifestyle?
Here are 10 tips (and one bonus one at the end):
Acknowledge that this is a new situation: A new situation means that you need to get used to it. You will settle in, just not in a day or two. Give yourself time to do that.
Try to get along with your roommate: You don't need to be best friends, but being friendly and respectful with each other is key. Set up some rules from the beginning that way, expectations are clear
Make your room your own. Decorate it as much as you want. Put posters, photos, or wall hangings up. There are good impermanent hanging solutions out there. Have your favorite blanket with you, a fake plant, or some fairy lights.
Stay Organized: If you thought finding matching socks was tough at home, wait until you're in a hurry to get to class and realize one sock is on an adventure of its own! The same goes for your school supplies, uniform, and school work.
Stay Connected: Video calls with family and friends back home can be your lifeline, especially at the beginning. Show them your room and the grounds. Schedule these calls (put them into your agenda) so that you don't forget them when you're busy.
Engage in Activities: Join clubs, even if you've never heard of them before. Who knows, maybe you're secretly a pro at trampolining, pickleball, or ice skating. You can reinvent yourself and test an activity that is unique to the country you're in. (see photo: my daughter tried our ice hockey when she was at boarding school)
Establish a Routine: School might be organized pretty tightly, but now you're in charge of getting up and going to bed on time. Alarms on your phone can be of great help. Personalize them, and give them a fun ringtone.
Seek Support: Identify someone you think you'd like to talk to when times get tough. Maybe the house mom, the music teacher, your counselor, or a coach?
Respect Differences: Embrace cultural differences. Be curious about your room and classmates' culture. Ask them honest questions. You could also organize a "Food Swap Friday" where everyone brings one snack from their home country.
Manage Homesickness: It's okay to feel this way, you just started living on your own far away from home! This is completely normal, but it does suck. Feel sad, have a good cry. Admit that this is tough! Then do something that lifts you up. FaceTime your best friend, watch your favorite series on Netflix, or go to the gym.
And a bonus one:
Embrace your independence: This is you living abroad now! Welcome your independence by washing your own clothes and staying up late to finish an essay... No, seriously, enjoy doing what you want. You'll collect many strange and hilarious moments while being at boarding school. Life's little lessons in self-sufficiency will make for the best stories down the road!