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Handling Being Homesick as an International Student

Posted on September 21st, 2013 by Bryanna Davis

saddv702075Being an international student is great- you are able to see important landmarks, try new cuisine, meet new friends, learn a new language and more than likely just have a great time in general. However, once the newness is gone and a holiday or two rolls around, the homesick blues may start to set in.

Luckily, there are a number of individuals around the world who have experienced these same feeling before you- this means that ways to cope with and help ease this feeling are out there! Here are a few ideas when it comes to handling being homesick as an international student:

  1. Get outdoors! Even if you have nowhere to go, make sure you spend at least 20 minutes outside every day. The fresh air and sunshine can give you an instant mood lift. Plus, this is a great chance to explore and see things you won’t while sitting inside- even if you just take a walk around campus.
  2. Mind over matter. More than likely your time studying abroad is limited. This means you only have a few weeks or months to enjoy your host country, but the rest of your life to enjoy where you come from (if you’ll be returning after your trip). If you don’t enjoy your time abroad due to being homesick, think about how you’ll feel once you do return home- more than likely pretty upset that you didn’t enjoy your journey to the fullest.
  3. Make small goals. Make attainable social goals daily like to talk to one person in your class or to sign up for a club. It’s important to establish a relationship with individuals in your host country to make it feel like your new home. When you have a friend to enjoy your time with, it’s usually more fun!
  4. Don’t rely on technology. Technology is great for keeping in contact with friends and family back home, but don’t let it be a crutch. Monitor how often you call or Skype home and make sure it’s not impacting your experience abroad.
  5. Participate in activities you enjoy. Just because you’re abroad doesn’t mean you can’t continue your workout routine or knitting club. Do a bit of research or ask your school advisor about any information they might have on a group based around your hobby. If there isn’t one- start one!

Above all, keep in mind that feeling homesick is normal and when it comes to handling being homesick as an international student finding positive ways to reduce that feeling can help you enjoy your time abroad as much as possible.

Written by Bryanna Davis

Bryanna joined EIC in 2011 after returning to the United States from teaching English in China. Her interest in international education, sparked initially by her own study abroad experience in Wales, led her to the company. Bryanna is originally from Missouri and is a graduate from the University of Central Missouri.

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One Response to “Handling Being Homesick as an International Student”

  1. Chad Biermeier Says:

    I am sure there are professors at your university that would be willing to spend time with you over lunch to share the culture of the country. They could give you ideas about things to see and do in the city. As a professor, I would be interested in learning about a culture I know nothing about. I may never travel abroad and would welcome the opportunity to help students learn about a culture. Feeling welcome to an area and meeting people can take care of some homesickness.

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