Choosing to embark on an study program in a foreign country 5,000 miles away from home promises its share of once in a lifetime memories and unforgettable experiences. But how do you cope with those moments during the semester when you’d trade anything for some authentic Mexican food with your best friend under the California sun? Feeling homesick during part of your time abroad happens to nearly everyone. Here are 5 tips to help cope when you find yourself missing home:
Stay in touch. When you’re feeling a bit homesick, it’s always nice to hear a familiar voice or see a friendly face. Luckily, technology makes keeping in touch with those that are even half-ways across the world easier than ever today! Schedule catch-up sessions with loved ones back home via Skype and messaging apps such as Whatsapp and Viber.
Keep busy. With that said, however, spending all of your time abroad online and longing to be back in the States is sure to keep you from immersing yourself in your new country and fully experiencing the unique experiences available to you. Take a walk. Explore a new part of your city. Join a fun club or society at your host institution. Keeping yourself busy and staying social is very important when you’re missing home.
Join your university’s international community. Chances are, you’re not the only student far away from home at your Uni! Joining the international community and meeting others who are also in an unfamiliar environment can help with any feelings of loneliness or isolation while abroad. Many of the host institution ISS (International Student Societies) often include both international students and locals who have been on a semester abroad experience themselves-creating a great support system and group to become immersed in!
Document your experience. Another way to deal with homesickness and culture shock is to write about it. Whether it’s keeping a personal journal or writing a blog, getting your feelings and emotions down is a great way to cope. It’s also a great way to express what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown to friends and family back home.
Remember why you’re here. The opportunity to immerse yourself in a foreign country as a college student is a truly remarkable experience. When you’re feeling down, remind yourself of the reasons you chose to study abroad in the first place and stay confident that this semester will grow and challenge you in incredible ways!