For many of us, going abroad is a wonderful experience.It is usually a wonderful experience living abroad, meeting new people, and studying in new academic settings. However, the majority of study abroad students also deal with varying degrees of homesickness.
The key to overcoming homesickness is to accept it as a part of living abroad and then to figure out ways to both treat it and also compartmentalize it. By this we mean that homesick students should learn to understand what homesickness truly is, which helps them better appreciate their own ‘normal’ life situation, and then they should use their homesickness as inspiration to make the most of their time abroad. Here are a number of suggestions how homesick students can overcome homesickness in order to better enjoy their experience abroad.
Establish a Routine of Contact with Your Home
The most important way to overcome your homesickness is to discipline yourself when it comes to contacting your family and friends at home. If you call them every time you get homesick, then you’re going to have an expensive habit and you’ll also just exacerbate the problem. Homesickness is a result of being away from your comfort zone, so if you continue calling home, you’ll never learn to be on your own. Regularly scheduled calls home can help you live week to week. If you can make it to the next phone call, you’ll be okay.
Make a List of Goals Abroad
Homesickness also arises when students don’t feel as though they have a purpose in being abroad, or they have lost focus as to why they went abroad in the first place. If you make a list of goals to accomplish while you’re abroad, you’ll have something to work towards, which will help keep your mind off of the reasons why you feel homesick.
Keep a Journal
You don’t always want to repress you homesickness, however, so if you keep a journal, you can create a safe place to reflect upon your homesickness. Writing about your homesickness and your experience as a student abroad is important because it gives you an opportunity to grow as a person: you can examine your values, how you act on your own, what you miss about your comfort zone, and so on. This helps you prioritize what is most important to you later in life.
Whatever you do, don’t let yourself wallow in bed. Part of going abroad is socializing with other people, especially other people of different cultures. Make new friends. Get to know your host country’s population. This will get you out and about, it will expose you to new things, and it will keep you from being too sad.
Earn Good Grades
Finally, throw yourself into your studies. Yes, you’re abroad to meet people, have fun, and see new things, but you’re also abroad to continue your education. Your grades are really important, so you should take advantage of this new academic environment to learn what it’s like to be a true student in a new and foreign academic situation. If you regularly keep up with your students, then you’ll have less of a chance of feeling homesick and sorry for yourself.