FEBRUARY 26, 2016

Dealing with Homesickness

Dealing with Homesickness

Steve Will headshotby Steve Will

Traveling to another country with a different culture can be one of the most tremendous experiences anyone can have.  It can also be very stressful going into the unknown.  This is particularly true for younger students who have no experience outside of their home country, and have nobody on whom to rely in the host country.  Homesickness is no laughing matter.  It can impact a student’s performance in the classroom and take away from the wonderful potential that studying abroad can offer.  Having experienced homesickness myself, I would like to share some tips that helped me to overcome it:

  1. Keep in regular contact with your family and friends back home.
    This helps reduce the amount of separation anxiety that one can experience when suddenly removed from those within the comfort zone. No doubt you miss your family and friends back home, but by keeping in touch with them, you can help yourself by maintaining your close connections while sharing your new experiences with them.
  2. Make new friends.
    Without making an effort to meet new people, you will most assuredly feel lonelier. By making new friends, whether they are other international students from other countries or those who are from your host country, you will have a network of support with you which you can turn to when times get tough.
  3. Eat your comfort food.
    This is actually quite important! You may hate the food in your host country, which truly does impact your daily life.  Bring some snacks from your home country, or find a restaurant that serves your home country’s food.  This place can quickly become your favorite place to go and alleviate those feelings of homesickness.
  4. Keep yourself busy.
    This is probably the most important tip! I have found that when I am busy, I don’t even have time to feel homesick!  Your mind will be too busy being occupied by the task at hand.  By keeping yourself busy, you become more goal-oriented and have more to work towards.  This can be school work, group activities, volunteer work, and much more.  Get out there and assert yourself!  Not only will you keep busy, but you will also learn and grow exponentially quicker as a student and an individual!

I hope these tips can assist in making life a little easier.  Studying abroad is an experience to treasure, and you want to go back home knowing that you made your time abroad worthwhile.  Speaking of which, returning home will represent a whole new challenge when faced with ‘reverse-culture shock.’  Stay tuned for tips on how to deal with that in my next post!


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