Homesickness is a normal thing all foreign students go through. The bad news is that it is inevitable. The good news, however, is that it’s also temporary and can be dealt with.
Battling homesickness does not only mean you need to take certain medications or learn about health insurance abroad for students. It is also about the choices you make and how you work with things you can control.
Here are some practical ways to beat the homesickness bug:
Immerse Yourself in the Culture
Studying abroad is an exciting opportunity for a student to get more than the usual education in a typical classroom setting. There are plenty of new things to learn not just with your mind but with your senses.
To help overcome homesickness and decrease culture shock, spend more time exploring your new community’s surroundings.
Try out the local cuisine. Explore the hidden gems of your host country, not just the usual tourist attractions. Learn some of their local songs or even their language. Taking in the sights and sounds of a culture different from yours is quite a remarkable learning experience. The more you immerse yourself in the culture, the less you think of home.
Join Communities and Societies
Locking yourself up in your room will only amplify your longing for home. Get out and get to know people. Find like-minded individuals you can hang out with regularly. Engage in academic forums and friendly conversations. Participate in different clubs at school.
Doing so will not only keep you busy but give you meaningful friendships that could last your lifetime.
Do Not Procrastinate
You read that right. Procrastination contributes to that feeling of longing for home. Do not hold off on finishing that book report or working on that science project. Get ahold of your books and start preparing for that physics test next week. Go to the library and do your research for that thesis.
Be productive and make the most of your time abroad. You are, after all, there to learn, right?
Spend Time With Your Host Family
Your host family is not just putting up a room for you to stay in while you’re there. They are there as your moral and emotional support. Get to know them. Listen to their stories about their family, their marriage, their kids, their work.
Offer to babysit their young children so they can go on dates. Have meaningful conversations with them. Go to church with them.
All these little things make your experience as a foreign student worthwhile. They not only diminish longing for home but also add value to you as a person.
If Possible, Minimize Your Contact With Home
Wanting to talk to friends and family back home is quite understandable as it gives you a semblance of a home away from home. However, it is exactly these types of communication that add to your homesickness.
If you’re used to talking to your mom or best friend every night, gradually work your way to getting it down to only once or twice a week. Instead of calling or chatting with them, do any of the other things mentioned in this list.
Homesickness, although not a grave matter, is not something you should take lightly. It will affect your productivity, which will defeat the purpose of going there in the first place. Learning to deal with it will spell the difference between failure and success in your studies.