How to Deal with Homesickness While Studying Abroad
Being careful to not sound clichéd, let us say studying abroad is a two-edged sword. It comes with the excitement of being able to pursue a career in a foreign land but at the same time being responsible for yourself without the comfort of your family and home. While this can mean living your life, the way you want, it also comes with the subtle pain of separation from your family, creating a sense of longing for your home or your city.
…being overtly homesick can sometimes give you second thoughts about studying abroad.
Often overlooked, this phenomenon, referred to as Homesickness can actually impact your performance. Apart from keeping you aloof from what is actually enjoyable, being overtly homesick can sometimes, indeed, give you second thoughts about studying abroad. And that can NOT be good!
Homesickness is a normal reaction to being out of the otherwise comfort zone (physical, mental and social), which everyone goes through, at some point of their life, in varied magnitudes. While in some cases, a small talk over the phone can take care of it, in more intense cases, a visit back home might be the apt solution. But the latter is not economical most of the time and the sheer knowledge of it being not possible, multiplies it several fold. So what should one do to feel at home even when abroad and deal with homesickness? Perhaps our insights below can come in handy!
Let your friends be your new family
Apart from the generic advice to make friends, we would suggest to make friends whom you can consider your new family. It is understandable how building such a bond can be a difficult task and over the years abroad, the dynamics will keep changing among you and your friends, but again it is not impossible and no matter how imperfect the relationship is, these friendships will make sure to give you the satisfaction of being among people you can relate and resort to.
Catch up with folks from your hometown/country
Nothing beats the joy of meeting a familiar person in a foreign land. The feeling of sharing the same culture can itself be most helpful while dealing with homesickness. Most of the time, students belonging to the same country, do hang out together. In this way, they feel at home as they relate to each other closely. So, meeting folks from your own land is a sure shot method to deal with it.
Get to know the locals
…your inclusion into their lives can give you a home away from home.
One of the greatest ups of studying abroad is meeting people. But apart from your usual pals, make an effort to mix with the locals. This is a good idea as it is sure to widen your perspective of the social and cultural norms of the place you are studying in. This also establishes your position as a student from a foreign land actually connecting with the people. This can also make you feel at home and your inclusion into their lives can give you a home away from home.
Indulge in extra-curricular activities
Take a break from your studies and join any extra-curricular activity. This apart from being your way to learn a new skill will also be a great tool to stay occupied. In short, you will be too occupied to think about your life back home and the food cooked by your mom.
Plan a trip
…trips are sure to keep your mind off the homesickness induced brooding.
A core part of your curiosity, while studying abroad, is to travel around and take a trip to places to relax and rejuvenate. So, if your finances allow, go for trips. Travel alone or with your pals, these trips are sure to keep your mind off the homesickness induced brooding. These trips will also provide you a relief off the studies which can get mundane at times.
Give back to the society
It is often not said, but social work can boost happiness. Teach or take part in anything that gives you an opportunity to help others and it is sure to take care of the constant longing for home. Moreover, this, like extra-curricular activities, you will be too busy to think about the comfort at home and at the end of the day feel good for making someone smile.
Technology comes to the rescue
Again going with a clichéd remark, technology has bridged the gap and made it easier to connect with the loved ones at home. This goes without saying that staying constantly in contact with people from back home is the best way to bring down homesickness by many notches. It is the age of face-time and whenever you feel the need, now you can not only hear your parents, but see them too.
…you will cherish the days and feel nostalgic about the days abroad.
Yes, we all go through this overflow of nostalgia that finally leads to being homesick and it is a phase. But the silver lining is when you finally get back home after years of staying abroad, you will cherish the days and feel nostalgic about the days abroad and live with memories and friendships you molded when you were homesick.