Homesickness is common among those away from home and familiar surroundings, often manifesting as anxiety or emotional distress. It can be caused by various factors, such as difficulty adjusting to a new environment, feeling lonely or disconnected from your support system, culture shock, and more.
It can be expressed in different ways, such as a constant desire to contact friends and family, comparing everything in the new environment to what is familiar, and withdrawing from social life.
While it may take effort and time, overcoming homesickness and gaining a new perspective on your surroundings is possible. Here are 5 tips to Handle Homesickness Abroad:
Staying connected with loved ones back home is an important aspect of managing homesickness abroad. Technology such as video chat, phone calls, and social media can help you feel closer to your loved ones despite the distance. For example, scheduling regular check-ins or setting up a standing call or video chat date can help ensure you stay in touch and maintain those important relationships.
Additionally, sending physical mail or care packages can be a nice way to feel connected to home and help your loved ones feel more involved in your experience abroad.
It's also important to remember that maintaining relationships with friends and family back home is not only important for managing homesickness but also for maintaining a sense of stability and continuity in your life.
While studying abroad, you may be meeting new people and experiencing new things, but keeping in touch with those who are important to you can help you stay grounded and remind you of your support back home.
Another way to stay connected with your loved ones is to plan a trip back home or have them visit you. This can help you to reconnect with familiar people, places and things and ease the sense of homesickness. Also, if you have any shared hobbies or interests with your loved ones, try to continue them while you're abroad; it will make you feel closer to home.
Find a community
Joining clubs or organisations on campus or in the local community can provide a sense of belonging and help you make friends who understand and relate to your experience. Joining clubs or organisations can help you meet people with similar interests and make it easier for you to connect with others and form new friendships. It can also help you feel more integrated into the community and give you a sense of purpose and belonging.
Joining clubs or organisations related to your home culture can also help you feel more connected to your roots while abroad. This can include cultural clubs, language clubs, or religious groups. This can also provide a space to connect with people with similar backgrounds and experiences, which can help ease feelings of homesickness.
Additionally, it's also a good idea to attend events and programs organised by the international student office or other international student groups. These events are often specifically designed to help international students connect and adjust to life in a new country.
Finding a community and building connections with others can effectively manage homesickness while studying abroad. It can help you feel like you belong and provide a support system as you navigate your experience abroad.
Embrace new experiences
Embracing new experiences can be an effective way to manage homesickness while studying abroad. When you're homesick, it can be easy to focus on what you're missing from home and feel out of place in your new surroundings. However, trying new things and embracing new experiences can help you create new memories and make your time abroad more meaningful.
Some examples of new experiences you can embrace include:
- Exploring your new city or country: Take the time to discover new places, try new foods, and experience different cultures.
- Learning a new language: Many universities offer language classes, or you can find language exchange partners to practice with.
- Travelling: Take the opportunity to travel to new places and experience different cultures.
- Trying new hobbies: Join a sports team, take a class, or volunteer to try something new and keep yourself busy.
By embracing new experiences, you'll be able to create your sense of place and make new connections. This can help you focus on the present and the future rather than dwelling on the past and what you've left behind.
It's also important to remember that embracing new experiences doesn't mean you have to forget about home. It's okay to miss home, but trying new things can help create new memories and make your time abroad more meaningful. And when you return home, you'll have a wealth of new experiences to share with your loved ones.
Keeping yourself busy with activities and hobbies can be an effective way to manage homesickness while studying abroad. When you're homesick, it can be easy to focus on what you're missing from home and feel out of place in your new surroundings. However, keeping yourself busy can distract you from these feelings and focus on something positive.
Some examples of activities and hobbies you can try include:
- Joining a sports team or club
- Taking a class or workshop
- Volunteering in the local community
- Starting a new hobby or craft
- Exploring the local area and trying new things
By staying busy, you'll be able to focus on something positive and make new connections, which can help you feel more settled and at home in your new surroundings.
It's also a good idea to make a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. A schedule can help you stay focused and give you a sense of purpose. It also helps to break up the day and give you something to look forward to.
Additionally, it's also important to ensure that you're getting enough rest and taking care of yourself. Homesickness can be overwhelming, and it's important to take care of your physical and mental health. Ensure you get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise regularly. It will help you feel better and make you more productive.
If homesickness becomes overwhelming, don't hesitate to seek support. Homesickness is a normal feeling, and it is important to remember that you are not alone in this experience.
You can seek support from different sources, such as:
- Friends or classmates: They may be going through similar experiences and can offer a listening ear and understanding.
- International student office or counsellor: They can provide resources and support to help you manage homesickness and other challenges of being away from home.
- Family and loved ones: They can offer emotional support and help you feel more connected to home.
It's important to talk to someone you trust, and don't be afraid to seek help if you need it. It's also important to remember that homesickness is normal and that many people experience it while studying abroad. With time, it will pass, and you'll adjust to your new surroundings.
You can also seek support from self-help groups or forums to help you cope with homesickness. They can offer you a space to talk openly and anonymously with people who understand what you're going through.
It is important to remember that seeking support is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength; it shows that you are willing to take steps to take care of yourself and to make the most of your study abroad experience.