Recently, Madison study abroad tweeted a link to this blog article: http://theabroadguide.com/parents-visit-while-studying-abroad/. If you haven’t read it and aren’t about to, it basically goes over the pros and cons of having your family, specifically your parents visit you while abroad. This was quite relevant as my parents arrived two days later so I decided to take a look at it. Now that my parents have come and gone I read it again and think it makes some very good points.
To begin with, I’m very close to my family so not seeing them for three months was pretty daunting and before I left it was comforting knowing that I would get to. While I wasn’t as homesick as I thought I would be I was still really excited when my family came. Having people I was completely comfortable around helped cure the small amount of homesickness I was feeling. But, as the article points out, having your parents visit can create some homesickness as well. It’s a reminder of home, one that isn’t part of my daily life abroad, so when they left there was a little more of me missing home than before. This may have to do with the timing of the visit too. It’s starting to get closer to the end of my time here and we’re all just starting to realize that. Thinking about the inevitability of going home somehow makes me miss it before.
Still, I’m glad that my parents came when they did. The article mentions that if parents come to visit, it’s not the best idea to do it at the beginning or end. I agree with that, since at the beginning I needed to settle in by myself and figure out how to live that way. Towards the end I’ll want to be able to spend as much time as I have with the people here doing what’s normal for us.
The other cons the blog makes are less clear for me. I don’t think that my parents coming interrupted my cultural immersion or interrupted my academics. While I did feel quite touristy again, I don’t think I lost any of the progress I’ve made. As far as academics go, I got all my assignments done before they came. And although I was pretty impatient I think my parents still love me, so we’re all good on the relationship front.
As for the other pros, I’m starting to see those are very true too. My dad already sent me an email saying how proud he was I was able to take charge of London and not be intimidated by the large city. My mom also tells me pretty consistently that she’s proud I’m taking advantage of my time here. It’s nice they got a glimpse into my life here and it feels good to know they’re proud of the work I’m doing.
It may be a tough call either way, but for me it was worth having my parents come. If for no other reason than free food (just kidding Mom!) and them realizing how much food actually costs in London.