Familiar Faces In Unfamiliar Places

I’m a little over halfway done with my semester of adventures abroad, and the homesickness is about to set in. Mostly it’s the fact that I can’t call my mom six times a day, or see the Pacific Ocean, or enjoy the convenience of living near my best friends. Consequently, I’ve started to feel a bit detached from home – but it helps when you run into some familiar faces while exploring the world.

Homesickness is not a feeling I’m familiar with. When I’m away at school, sure, I miss my family and my friends from my hometown. But I can call home at any minute and have incredible friends to offset that feeling while I’m in San Diego.

Going abroad alone, I was excited, but scared that I wouldn’t make close friends for the semester and that I would feel too detached from my life back at SDSU. Luckily, I made an amazing group of friends who have made this experience more than memorable. And yet, there are a lot of people I’m missing, and with roughly 6,000 miles and a nine-hour time difference between California and Italy, it’s easy to feel detached from home – a lot.

So when I do see someone from home while I’m abroad – whether they’re passing through Italy, or I see them while venturing to another country – it’s a really comforting feeling. Seeing familiar faces from San Francisco or San Diego in unfamiliar places is truly the closest piece of home I could get or ask for while abroad. Finally having a conversation about how much I miss In-n-Out or going to Pacific Beach after class – and having someone understand it – is somewhat reassuring.

The best part about seeing friends from home while abroad is sharing experiences with people you’ve already established a relationship with. Meeting new people is great and one of the best parts of studying abroad, and I’ve made some friends I will never forget, but creating new memories with people from home is equally special.

Over the course of my semester abroad so far, I have been able to see a few familiar faces around Europe. In Munich, Germany, I got to meet up with a friend from SDSU at Oktoberfest. A friend from my childhood was visiting Rome during her semester abroad in Barcelona so we got together for an afternoon. A couple weeks ago, I flew to England on my own for the weekend, and my friend from SDSU studying abroad in Birmingham gave me her floor for the night and showed me around London, as well. And this past weekend, one of my roommates from my freshman year at SDSU was visiting Rome from her year-long study abroad experience in Edinburgh, Scotland – so I played tour guide for her.


In the coming weeks, I get to visit my best friend from high school in Dublin, where I’m traveling to alone. Then my friend from Edinburgh gets to return the favor when I visit her and she gets to show me around her new home.

Granted, I still miss a lot of amazing people from home. But it’s incredibly reassuring to know that there are people in my life who are also living out some pretty amazing adventures and going on a similar journey – in my time zone!

Kassandra FerranteKassandra Ferrante is earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism at San Diego State University. She is blogging from Rome, Italy this fall.

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