10 Ways To Overcome Studying Abroad Homesickness
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No one wants to experience homesickness whilst studying abroad.
You’re constantly told how much of an amazing opportunity it is to be able to live in a foreign country and take on something new…so why does homesickness have to ruin things?
The definition of homesickness is ‘a feeling of longing for one’s home during a period of absence from it’.
Some symptoms which may occur include distress, headaches, feeling angry or nauseous and feelings of loneliness and isolation. Of course, there’s many others which are totally taken into account, but may be harder to spot.
It’s totally normal to get these feelings when you’ve moved to a new country, however we want to give you our best tips on how to beat it. So make sure to keep on reading and see if you discover anything that works for you!
1. Begin By Setting Yourself A Routine And Stick To It
When you first move abroad to study, you’re probably not used to the area you’re living in or the time zones might be different. This can be challenging and increase your homesickness levels.
One of the best ways to combat this is to introduce routines into your life.
Routines are everything, especially when you’re not in your own country. Your routine schedule will have a direct affect on your productivity, focus and sense of control.
Of course, having a strict regime is not what we’re talking about, because seriously, who sticks to that?
We want you to set an alarm at the same time in the morning and make sure to go to bed at relatively the same time, possibly introducing a ‘bedtime routine.
Having a healthy bedtime routine is important as it will improve your sleeping pattern, mood and mean you’re less likely to get sick. So when you’re suffering with homesickness, don’t forget this simple, yet vital tip!
2. Find People You Get Along With
University is a big place and it’s even bigger if you’re studying abroad!
Trying to meet new friends may seem difficult in your head, but we promise it’ll be the best thing you do at uni for your mental health and improving homesickness.
There’s nothing more exciting than finding a bunch of people who fit your vibe and you jell well with – we know it won’t take you long to find them.
We suggest that you use your university to the best of your ability. They’ll have sooo many events organised for you to get involved with, you’re bound to find some new friends who are just like you.
3. Keep Busy And Plan Things To Do
This may seem like a simple one but it’s scary thinking of how many people tuck themselves away, rather than leaving their flat and doing things in their free time.
Plan something to look forward to, maybe with your friends or flatmates! We’ve listed some quick ideas below you may enjoy:
- Go for a coffee
- Go for food
- Take a picnic to the park
- Set yourself a 10k challenge and walk somewhere new
- Organise a ‘come dine with me’ meal night in
- Have a movie night
- Do some arts and crafts
- Play video or computer games
- Go to the zoo
- Organise a board games night
Keeping busy will take your mind off of any negative thoughts you might be having, and socialising will reduce your feelings of loneliness.
4. Download Apps Such As Video And Messenger
In this digital generation, there’s a lot of talk about how beneficial the internet really is in regard to our mental wellbeing. However, if you’re missing home whilst studying abroad, there’s nothing a quick video call can’t fix!
Friends and family are everything and they’ll be looking forward to calling you just as much as you want to see them. Seeing a familiar face is bound to put a smile on your face and improve your homesickness whilst studying abroad!
There’s a lot of apps out there for you to download to feel connected and we suggest making sure you have them all. Here’s a list of the top 5 we think you’ll want:
- Netflix Party
- Facebook (and messenger)
These are free apps which allow you to call, video call, message and play games on.
Obviously, you don’t have to choose exactly what we’ve suggested, as you might find some apps which are more suited to you – there’s no pressure!
5. Take Some Home Comforts With You
If you’re worried about moving out of your home country, why not bring some of it with you?
Find things in your house which comfort you and you think you could benefit from whilst away from home.
Some ideas of what people bring are teddys, letters, blankets and home fragrances. These familiar smells will be sure to provide you warmth when you feel homesick.
6. Ask To Receive Regular Packages From Home
You’d be surprised to know just how many international students get homesickness whilst studying abroad.
Communicate with those you miss and ask them to help you out a little.
It doesn’t have to be anything big, just some handwritten letters or some savoury favourites you might not be able to get in your new city.
Having these regular updates will make you realise that you’re not forgotten about and hopefully make you feel less lonely.
7. Speak To Your University For Help
Your university is here for you and they want to look after you if you’re feeling sad.
Homesickness is scary if you’re alone and you’ll find that your uni is fully equipped to help guide you through everything!
They will have people you can speak to, including specialists and possibly other international students who can help ease the feeling of pain.
8. Buy A Journal And Write Down How You’re Feeling
Okay so here us out with this one – buy a journal!
Journals are so good for your health and have sooooo many benefits. When you’re feeling homesick, it can help to improve your mood and co-ordinate your thoughts.
You’ll mainly feel lonely if you’re experiencing homesickness and your journal can make you feel as if you’re not.
We suggested 5 ideas you could write about to keep your thoughts balanced:
- Write about your plans for the day
- Tell the journal how you’re feeling
- Write down things you’ve done today that you’re proud of (at the end of the night)
- Identify any negative thoughts
- Write down how you’re going to eliminate these tomorrow to make you feel betterGet some exercise
9. Get Some Exercise
Now we understand that exercise isn’t for everyone, but we promise we’re not expecting you to run a marathon everyday!
Going out for a short jog/run, going to the gym or even substituting the bus for a walk can all have a positive impact on your mental health and how homesick you are.
Your body will begin to release chemicals called ‘endorphins’, which will in turn trigger a happy feeling in your body…what more could you want?
10. Make The Most Of It While You Can
Last but not least, make the most of it while you can!
Studying abroad homesickness can feel overwhelming when not properly addressed.
Before you know it, you’ll be jetting off back home and your time abroad will be over.
It’s a once in a lifetime experience and, believe us, you’ll be more upset going home when you realise how many friends you have here who love and support you!
We hope these 10 tips will help you during your time at university. Everyone has a different path and it’s important that you reach out and communicate whilst you study abroad. Other students will be feeling the same as you, we promise.
If you’re interested in studying abroad in the future, why not check out our locations page and find a city that would be perfect for you!