We’ve previously dealt with dealing with homesickness in general
as a postgrad but it can be particularly difficult for those studying abroad. With an unfamiliar culture to deal with, and hundreds or thousands of miles of land or sea between you and home, it’s only natural to feel lonely or cast adrift at some point during your studies. However, that is not to say that it can’t made better, or even overcome, if you follow the right steps.
Firstly, it’s about reaching the right balance between contact and non-contact. Although when you’re homesick it might feel like the easiest solution to just turn on Skype or pick up the phone and contact friends or family, this is not always a good idea in the long run. Regular contact with people at home instead of friends where you’re living can actually make you more homesick, as seeing home people all the time can make you miss not being with them even more. Instead it is better to choose a regular catch up time. Depending on how much you feel the need to contact home, this can be anything from once a month to twice a week, but what’s important is that it happens on set pre-arranged times and dates. That way, you know that your regular contact is only so far away when you’re missing your home country.
As an extension of this, getting in the habit of writing and receiving letters from home can have a big impact on your mood. Getting post is most students’ secret thrill, and writing letters mean you can keep in contact without getting too attached to people that you can’t be with in the way that you can if you regularly use Skype. For many, post from home might be enough to curb homesickness, but it can be made even more of a treat if letters come with small treats from home. Little things like foods from home that you can’t get in the country you’re studying in are great, inexpensive ways to get a taste of your home country wherever you are studying.
Another way of coping with feelings of losing your home culture is to embrace your current country’s culture. It might seem tempting to make friends exclusively with fellow study abroad students, but that way you will always feel like a stranger in a strange land. Making friends with residents of that country (or even betters locals of that city) will accustom you to the culture to the extent that you might end up never wanting to return home. Take up a class, visit a local landmark or even spend an evening in your local bar and soon it will feel like you have never lived anywhere else. Here’s our list of ten things you must do in your new country
, so start there, and then follow the example of the locals and find yourself at home in your new home.
Through all of this, it is important to remember one thing. Everyone feels homesick at one point or another, and doing so doesn’t mean you should take the next flight home. Give it time, talk to someone and make the most of the cultural opportunities afforded to you and you can get over any homesickness slump, and discover new friends and new activities you never thought you’d do along the way. Soon, whenever you leave where you’re studying, you’ll feel homesick for there!