There are numerous benefits to studying overseas. It can broaden your horizons, make you more attractive to international employers, and allow you to meet a whole new network of friends and colleagues. Yet for most international students, there is a settling in period that can come with some feelings of homesickness. This is natural, particularly if you’ve never travelled on your own or been abroad before. Even if you feel excited about your new opportunities and life overseas, feelings of loneliness or sadness can creep in from time to time. When they do, you can use the following tips to ease homesickness and focus on making the most of your new temporary home.
Bring Mementos from Home
You don’t need to recreate your entire childhood bedroom in your dormitory, but bringing along a few items that remind you of home can bring you comfort. Post a few photographs of friends and family members on the wall, or arrange to have your favourite magazine delivered.
Keep a Journal
When a bout of homesickness strikes, writing down your thoughts and feelings can help get it out and make you feel more positive. A journal can serve not only as a means of venting, but it can also provide you with a record of this important time which you can look back on and cherish.
Sign up for Extracurricular Activities
One of the best ways to fight off any fleeting feelings of sadness is to throw yourself into school life. In addition to focusing on your studies, you can also sign up for extracurricular activities in line with your interests. This will help you meet new people with similar interests, and you’ll find that you’re far too busy to feel homesick!
Stay in Touch with Friends and Family
Living in a new place doesn’t mean you have to leave your old life behind. Email, Skype, and an international SIM card can allow you to stay in touch with your friends and family without spending a fortune. Keeping loved ones updated on how your new life is going will make the distance between you seem less formidable, so it’s worth arranging a weekly Skype date with your friends and sending out regular emails. You might want to ask at your university about any special deals on calling abroad. Some international offices will have free SIM cards for international students or calling cards at low rates to help you keep in touch.
Make Friends with Other International Students
Naturally, you’ll want to make friends with locals, but it’s also comforting to have a network of friends in your new location who understand just what you’re going through. Most schools have an international office that arranges events for foreign students, or you could get together through websites like meetup.com. Just talking about your home country with others can help you get past feelings of homesickness quickly.
Overall, you’ll want to focus on the positive aspects of this new and sometimes strange experience. Enjoy the cultural differences, festivals, cuisine, and new friends that come along with it. When the going gets tough, just remind yourself that you’ll be going home at the end of the term. You may find that when you get there, you’ll feel homesick for your study abroad location!