When You’re Feeling Homesick
Homesickness should not bog down your time abroad, so here are a few tips to help diminish the desire to return home and increase the will to explore and thrive abroad.
Buy food from home
Spend the extra cash to buy that peanut butter or pop tart. Your taste buds will appreciate it. Eating a food from home will not only fill your stomach, but it will push out feelings of homesickness by relishing in the small comfort of a cuisine your body is accustomed to.
Find a book in English
This tip applies to people studying abroad in a country where English is not the primary language. Having to listen, speak, read, and write in a different language all day every day is tiring in the beginning. The fatigue may make you miss home where speaking the language came without a second thought. To refresh your mind, take a break from the language and read a new book in English. Not only does reading a book in English give your brain a break, it helps you connect in a new way back to home.
Take a break from social media and Skype
Scrolling through people’s news feed, creeping on their Instagram photos, or talking with your best friend on Skype every other day will only make you miss home more because the exposure will make you feel that you are missing a lot back at home. Put the phone or laptop down. Expose yourself to what your host city has to offer you. Sit in a coffee-shop with your new friends and learn about their lives. Put your time and attention into what is around you and suddenly, you will find yourself not missing home as much.
Create a routine
One may feel chaotic since everything is new and different. To create some stability to grasp on, create a routine. Wake up at the same time, go to class, schedule a time to get homework done, include a run or some sort of exercise. Having something you can rely on will help you ground your feet, easing the desire to return home where you had a solid routine.
Talk with others
Chances are, you are not alone. Talk with your friends about your feelings and you will probably learn that others feel the same way that you do. Expressing these feelings with others gets it off your shoulders and helps create a support system for when you do need to vent.
Write down your frustrations on paper, it is another form of taking internal feelings and making them external. Being able to look at what you are feeling helps you acknowledge and understand what you are going through will aid you in moving past it. You do not only have to write down your feelings, but also record your experiences. Recording the cool things you are seeing or trying will remind you why you are there, all the motivation to continue enjoying your time there.
Plan a trip
Best distraction from homesickness is to travel. Get out and see a new city, see a new country. Booking a trip means you will be busy searching hostels and bus tickets, planning what to do in the new place, and learning a few key words in the country’s language. Immersing yourself in a new place will bring your attention to problems to solve like figuring out which tram stop to get off at, items to check off the bucket list, and people to meet. When you tap into the excitement studying abroad has to offer, you will not be thinking about home.
Don’t get discouraged
Feeling homesick is a part of the process of living abroad. When living abroad, people undergo a U curve; they feel excited at the beginning, then start to feel uncomfortable and confused, and then angry and frustrated. At this point, you are at the bottom of the U curve. After this point, you start accepting and adapting and at the top of the other side of the U, you are excited and loving life again. It will get better, you will get past it.