4 Stages Of Flying Back Home As An International Student
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Student Life

4 Stages Of Flying Back Home As An International Student

It's certainly not just "pack your bag and go."

4 Stages Of Flying Back Home As An International Student

As an international student, I’m blessed with many travel opportunities. But my favorite is always when I travel back home. However, it's not always a simple and easy process, especially when I live way across the globe. For me, there are four main stages I would have to go through before actually arriving home.

The Planning Stage

The planning stage is exciting, as this is when I start thinking about booking a flight home. At this stage, I tend to imagine all the people that I would see, all the food that I would eat, all the familiar places that I haven’t seen for months (or ever years,) and all the changes while I was away.

I would talk to friends back home about their summer (or holiday) plans, and we would shriek over the fact that I'm finally able to join the fun. I would constantly update myself with the hottest dining spots, new entertainment revenues and current activities, in hope that I would be able to take part in when I come back.

I would day-dream about finally be back at my parents' home, sleeping on my childhood bed, and eating delicious home-cook meals. I would start purchasing gifts for family and friends at home. I'm usually so excited at this stage, to the point that I could easily ignore the struggles I might face before I'm physically home.

The Paperwork Stage

As an international student, one huge complication with traveling out-of-country is that you can't just purchase a ticket and go, especially when you'd need to renew your visa. "The paperwork stage" is when you meet your international student adviser and ask for a travel signature on your I-20, request your official transcripts, and prepare your passport. Last year, I traveled home when I was transferring between two colleges, which only made that stage even more complicated.

This stage is like packing, but with papers and signatures instead of clothes and goods. During this stage you would also hear many horror stories of that one student who forgot to request their transcript and couldn't come back to the state, or an unfortunate student who lost all their paperworks right before leaving. In the middle of this stage, you would be frustrated, and tired, and wishing that you didn't have to go through all this. But don't worry! Make a checklist, ask for help if needed, double check, double check, and DOUBLE CHECK! Then you should be just fine.

The Packing Stage

This is the most horrendous stage for me, since there are so many things I want to bring back home, yet I'm the type of person who would wait until the last week to do all the shopping and start pa(ni)cking. Depending on the airline that I chose, there would be different guidelines on how much and what kind of goods I could bring with me. It stresses me out when I have to pack fragile goods, like perfume bottles for mom's collection, or Space Needle-printed mugs for friends. (Friends reading this, I know you hate me for giving you a silly mug, but hey, know that I had to go through a lot just so it comes back in one piece!)

Also, trying to figure out how much a baggage weights is a pain in the butt. Actually, it's a pain the spine, since I actually have to lift them 50-pound boxes up and down multiple times.

The Flying Stage

I have serious motion sickness, so this is the worst stage for me. It easily takes over 14 hours of flight, at least one transit, three airline meals, four Dramamine pills, before I could arrive home. Because the flight is so long, I have always been battling myself over choosing either a window seat or an aisle seat. With a window seat, I could sleep for hours without people waking me up. With an aisle seat, I could go to the bathroom whenever I want to. It's a struggle!

Despite it being an exhausting stage, I always find traveling with airplanes a bit magical (Airplane technicians and engineers are probably laughing so hard at me now,) mainly because of acknowledging that you're being this high up in the air is awesome. I mean, look around you. Out of the window, you see tiny houses being smaller and smaller. Then all of a sudden, all you can see are now just clouds. And let's be real here, the feeling that you're moving with an incredible speed is amazing. Plus, you are flying with a bunch of people you don't even know, but at the same time, you all have the same destination.

And You're HOME!

No matter how crazy and hectic this process is, at the end of the day (or flight), you know it's worth it. You will soon see the people that you love dearly, eat the food that you've been craving for, and simply be at home again. Most importantly, you have traveled across the globe all by yourself. How cool is that?

Have you gone through these stages as an international student? Are you planning to go home this summer, and are preparing yourself for one of these stages? Good luck!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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