Studying abroad can be a great experience – you will meet new people, experience new traditions, eat exotic foods and possibly learn a new language. But with these new experiences you may find yourself homesick missing your family, friends, pets, food or even something as simple as your own bed.
When you are homesick you may feel sad, lonely, or even anxious. Depending on the severity, it may be mild or you may experience some physical symptoms like stomachaches or headaches. However, if you feel homesick while studying abroad there are some steps you can take to help you cope:
- Stay active! Fill your time with activities that you enjoy. Do activities with your friends or by yourself like going to the gym, reading a book, doing a puzzle, or playing games.
- Eat well and stay healthy. Eating junk food can make you tired and weak.
- Bring a momento that reminds you of home. It can be anything from a picture of your family to a blanket.
- Call home once in a while. If you’re homesick, calling home to hear your family or your friends’ voice can be comforting. Try to call when you are happy. Calling when you are sad will make them worry - which may in turn make you more upset in the process.
- Keep a journal. Many people find that writing down their feelings can serve as an outlet. You may look back at a previous entry and realize that it wasn’t such a big deal after all. So if you feel sad again, you will know that it is just a temporary feeling that will pass.
- Make new friends! Being with other people is one of the best ways to start feeling good about your new environment. Even if you don’t know anyone very well yet, consider joining a club or organization. See if there is any opportunity to go grab a bite to eat with other people. Just remember, friendship doesn’t develop overnight, so don’t expect to have a best friend right away.
Home sickness can affect anyone, but if you feel depressed don’t be afraid to talk to someone and ask for help. If you have any tips you would like to share on how to cope with homesickness, please leave a comment!