Meet the Expert on Expat Emotional Health

Written for & published by Abroad101.com (Sept 2012) Wellness Wednesday column

Link to original article: http://blog.studyabroad101.com/2012/09/wellness-wednesday-meet-our-expert-on-expat-emotional-health/

By Melissa Doman, M.A.

 

With my last name being an anagram of nomad, you could say a love for travel is in my blood.  My passion for personal development through travel began in college; I studied abroad during my junior year in Melbourne, Australia and truly fell in love with being an expat. My second stint living overseas was when I taught English in Seoul, South Korea.

 After living in South Korea and Australia, traveling to 26 countries, and meeting people from all over the world, I realized my niche for helping folks through difficult life transitions.  Ultimately, this led me to my current career as a mental health counselor.  I received my Masters in Counseling Psychology from the Adler School of Professional Psychology and was able to do an incredible clinical internship counseling college students at a university in Illinois. Currently, I work as a counselor and wellness education lecturer.  With Abroad101 Wellness Wednesdays, I'm excited to apply my counseling skills to the study abroad context.  I'll address the emotional wellness of students going overseas in regards to pre-departure preparation, cultural adjustment, and repatriation back into one’s home country. I learned a lot from studying and living abroad, and I’m excited to share my experiences in any way that can help all of you in your own courageous study abroad journeys.

 

Top 5 Countries Visited:

1. Tahiti

2. New Zealand

3. Spain

4. South Korea

5. Costa Rica

 

Top 5 Things I learned from Studying & Living Abroad:

1. Relax and breathe. Don’t be afraid of change – embrace it.

2. Open yourself up to unfamiliar experiences.

3. Try activities you wouldn’t have access to in your home country – they make for great stories!

4. Eat strange foods – they’re really yummy!

5. Don’t spend too much time missing home – live in the now – and go create memories you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.

 

Favorite Travel Memory: 

“I was at the beach on Roatan Island off the coast of Honduras, after a midnight dance party with the islanders. I felt the waves flow over my feet on the shore, looked up at the bright clear moon, and watched a lightening storm in the distance roll over the sea. As the lightening bolts quietly lit the night sky, I found it was one of the most serene moments in my life. I looked around, took it all in, and thought to myself, “this is why I’m here – to see beautiful things like this. This is why I travel.”