As a student that normally studies away from home, it’s almost funny to me that my parents are still struggling to adapt to this time zone difference. I’ve been in Europe for a couple of months now, and now and then my mother tells me “good morning” at 6 PM, and my father occasionally calls at 3 AM. Regular communication with my family and friends has been one of the most important; however, difficult tasks throughout my experience abroad. Disclaimer, I am not sharing these awkward moments to scare students that are interested in studying abroad but to bring awareness to this reality that might not seem as drastic until you are in the moment. In this blog, I will share my experience adjusting to the different time zones.
Before arrival, I was nervous about the 8-hour time zone difference especially because I had spent most of my night packing before my flight. I planned to sleep for most of my flight time so that when I arrived in Stockholm on Saturday morning, I would be able to stay up throughout the day until nighttime. I made this decision so that I would be able to adjust well to the timezone difference, and this plan set me up pretty well. Although it was difficult to stay awake after a long flight, I was able to adjust very well and easily to the timezone. I was a bit tired the next couple of days; however, this did not last long. The time zone did not harm me as much as it affected the other American students that I was in school with.
I can confidently say that one of the most visited apps on my phone is the clock because it informs me of all the different time zones that my friends and family are a part of. One thing That helped me greatly while contacting my family was constantly sharing my time. Whenever I called people from home, I would share my time so that the other person on the phone was aware of this difference. I found that this method of communication helped me and my family adjust to the time zone differences quickly. Another thing that helped me bridge the gap was communicating with my family when I was going to bed and again when I woke up. Although this may seem small, these small habits have helpt in many ways.
Overall the time zone difference has had a large impact on my time here abroad. Sometimes it feels like I am ending my day when the rest of the world is just getting started. I’ve found this experience of living in two time zones especially difficult; however, I’ve learned to convert times quickly and stay connected with the people back in the states. This challenge has only helped me grow as a person, and although I sometimes wish the time zone difference was not so drastic, I am very grateful for the overall experience.