Dealing with homesickness while studying abroad
First things first – it’s okay to be homesick. It’s totally normal! In fact, it’s so normal it’s not really a question of if you’ll get homesick, but how homesick you’ll feel.
Here at INTO, many of us have lived and studied abroad, so here are our top tips for dealing with homesickness while living and learning in a new country.
Talk to people at home… but not too much
It’s great to talk to your friends and family and find comfort in them, but it could also stop you from living in the present.
Try to make sure you are in contact with everyone back home, but don’t spend all of your time talking to them… life is about balance!
Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook are all free ways to have a chat with a friendly face when you need it.
Make your new home feel like home
Bring your stuffed animals or hang up some photos. Make your space safe and comfortable. Having said that, make sure you don’t stay in your room all the time.
Explore! Go outside – find your favourite place to study. Find the best coffee shop or your new favourite place to eat. Make your new home feel familiar.
Not sure what to bring with you? Check out our top tips on how to pack when studying abroad to remember all the essentials.
Going for a run is a great way to get to know your surroundings better. It’ll also help to clear your mind and make you feel great.
Do what you’re passionate about
Try to maintain a routine. If you love to play volleyball, then join a team. Check out your University’s Student Union to see what sports teams you could join.
If you enjoy cooking, then cook with your housemates. It’s a great way to bond with them and share your culture. Start getting involved in your passions – it’ll help you settle in and maybe make some new friends!
You can still do all the things you love, just in a new place.
Find things to love about your university
Get yourself to focus on the positive changes! Keep a journal to keep track of new and interesting things you’ve done. Why not start a study abroad blog?
Start updating Instagram with beautiful shots of campus, new friends, and your daily life. You won’t believe what a difference having a record of the good things will make.
Learn about where you are
Getting to know the history, the social norms, the traditions; it can all make you feel more secure and less homesick.
Creating a new home and routine is a process.
Be kind to yourself. This isn’t something you can hurry, and whatever pace it happens at is just fine.
Don’t expect everything to fall perfectly into place straight away.
Take care of yourself
Cook homemade food, have a long bath, put a face mask on, watch your favourite show on Netflix.
Whatever it is that helps you unwind, make sure you do it regularly. This new journey can be exhausting at times, so make time to relax.
Get outside your comfort zone
This is what studying abroad is all about! Try something totally and completely new. Maybe something you didn’t have the opportunity to do before?
You might find something completely amazing and develop a new passion in life.
Take unusual classes, join social clubs, and talk to new people. Give yourself room to grow.
Just because you feel homesick now doesn’t mean you’ll feel homesick forever. Being homesick is essentially missing what is comfortable and familiar, and eventually, you will get comfortable and familiar with University life.
It’s okay to look back, just keep moving forward.
You may also like to read Cathy’s story about adapting to a new culture or 7 things that will help you through a long distance relationship.
To find out more about studying abroad through the eyes of past students, head over to our student stories hub on the website.