If you’re an international student or have been one, you must know how it feels to miss all the special moments happening back home. Your nephew’s first smile, your best friend’s wedding, your mom’s special food during the holidays.
The intensity of homesickness may fade, but people are sometimes surprised to find it may never go away entirely, even for those who were most eager to study abroad.
We compiled the tips and tricks to help you ease your homesickness.
Engage in some self-reflection
According to this article on BBC, feeling homesick often goes deeper than missing certain people or comforts. Think about what you’re missing — it might be a different version of yourself.
So try to take that time to focus on yourself. Think about your identity, values and priorities. Also evaluate what might be off that’s making you unhappy—perhaps it’s missing certain connections or a creative outlet —and try to address it.
Instead of feeling mooning all week long, keep up your fitness routine or start a new one to keep those endorphins flowing. Sign up for a class to continue a hobby or activity you love. Indulge an interest you never pursued back home sounds even more adventurous. It’ll create a win-win situation: You are doing something you enjoy and you end up meeting people with similar interests.
Beware the “victim mindset”
When in a homesickness funk, it can be too easy to blame external factors or other people and that mentality is detrimental.
Remember, you are exactly where you wanted to be. A few months or years before, you were working so hard to be where you are right now. It’s about owning where you are, choosing what you want the next day to look like and taking little steps to get there.
Keep in touch with home
Stay connected and schedule video chats. Make time to touch base with those you miss most, but know that you need to build a support system at school or work too.
Don’t be afraid to talk about feeling homesick. No matter where you are or what you’re doing it’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows — and that’s okay. What’s more, ignoring those feelings can exacerbate them in the long run.
Do things that remind you of home
This could include eating some food from your country, or food your family eats. You might want to share with a new friend. During a holiday that matters to you much, why don’t you invite some of your new friends over to show what you usually did, food you made and served, so you won’t feel lonely anymore.
Remember, you are not alone
Many people get homesick. Reach out to people who can give you support on how to deal with homesickness. Talk with other students, call your friends and former classmates. They are probably feeling the same way and might have some tips of their own. Discussing your experiences can also be a way to bond and make new friends.