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Home Sick when Studying Abroad

Posted on August 18th, 2011 by Apinant Hoontrakul

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!

5 Responses to “Home Sick when Studying Abroad”

  1. samuelarnold Says:

    I have an opportunity to travel to Prague, Paris, Berlin, and Amsterdam for a month but I have my doubts because the cost is so high. Is the loans I would have to take out worth the experience?

  2. Byron Says:

    Despite the fact that many of your fellow first-years wouldn’t admit it, homesickness is actually quite a common, especially when the shiny newness of college is starting to wear off and you begin getting in your daily routine. The reality starts to set in and your workload, exams, and other responsibilities become daunting. Depending on your situation, you may have been away from home for time and home suddenly seems worthy of missing. Getting involved helped me out in a major way and services like Student Activities and Student Support became a family when I had no one physically to turn to. Schools like VIU ( up these programs in order to bring the student body together and ease that transition.

    One more thing is about being home sick is that you not the only one, thing is your peers might not admit: they, too,

  3. english language school in melbourne Says:

    The feeling of homesickness is something most international students get. At some point everyone craves the more familiar like friends, food, pets or family. Sometimes it just feels like it all is so far away.

  4. Global Visas Security Says:

    Studying abroad is the dream of many students but only few of them are able to fulfill it.The best thing to solve this problem is to interact with more and more people and make new friends and get involved in new activities that will help you out in your studies.

  5. N90 Says:

    I come from Thailand, I was exchange student with AFS in Iceland in 2007-2008 and in 2010 I came back to Iceland to study in university but life here isn’t the same like I was exchange student. I had a lot of friends when I was exchange student and we were always hanging out at the night and do something but my parent paid everything for me. I have been lived with my boyfriend for 2 years now but we met since I was exchange student and we live on our own money, we tried so hard to save money so we can have money to pay for food and rent. I have few friends but hardly meet or contact them, only once or twice a year. I called my mother every now and then. I’m not going out or do many activities because we have low budget and everything here is so expensive(Icelandic people also know about this). I feel homesick at this time of the year because 2 years ago, my dad passed away and in December 2010 me and my boyfriend went to Thailand for my dad funeral and last year, in December I went to Thailand alone to visit my mother(my boyfriend couldn’t come with me because we didn’t have enough money) and now my boyfriend, he works a lot before Christmas is coming and I just study at home for the final exams and this year in December we don’t have enough money to buy flight tickets to Thailand and my boyfriend also want me to stay with him in Christmas and New Year with his family, since we have been together for 5 years we never celebrate Christmas together.. so he really expects me to stay with him. I think there is one more reason that why I feel depress, Icelandic weather in these few months is sucks!! The sun doesn’t come up until around 10 o’clock and it begins to get dark again around 4 pm. It is dark and cold and no trees to make you feel lively(except Christmas tree that I have seen for 2 years and it’s nothing special anymore). There is no activity that you can do outside and you don’t have to spend money. I go out for a walk a lot in other seasons except winter because there is ice on the road everywhere. I don’t really know what to do, I feel very homesick right now and a bit depress because of the weather. I have been try to study all this morning but when I try to study, I begin to cry and thinking how much I miss home. In last september-october(2012) I work for a month and then I quit before I have exam. I just study at home because I don’t understand professors, they speak Icelandic but luckily the books are in English. I just hope that after exam I might not feel as homesick as right now, then I will get less stress. I was thinking to get some job after exam too, try to save money so I can go back to visit my mother in Thailand and I might get opportunity to meet new people at work. I try to stay positive but some times emotional just get in a way. Can anyone has a suggestion for my situations or I already solve my own problem after writing this down?

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