7 Tips for beating homesickness
For anyone that has ever moved away from home or studied abroad, homesickness – i.e. feelings of isolation and distress – is very common. While studying abroad presents exciting adventures and opportunities, it is not unusual for people to feel overwhelmed by their new surroundings. If you are looking to learn English abroad, don't get discouraged by the thought that you might feel nervous when you first arrive, because getting past the homesickness is easier than you think!
While you can't completely wipe away homesickness, there are ways to alleviate it and tips that can help you get into a positive frame of mind so that you can embrace your new exprience and make the most of our your time abroad.
1. Explore your new surroundings
One of the best ways to beat (and even prevent) homesickness is to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings. The more you know about your new city, the more comfortable you will feel living there. Play the tourist and scout out the best restaurant, bars, coffee shops and parks. Find your nearest grocery shop, or familiarise yourself with the local transportation system. Source the nearest fitness centre or local bakery - anything that will broaden your horizons will help you to build a connection to your new home, and will ultimately distract you from missing home.
2. Keep busy and get involved
The only way to make yourself feel at home in a new city is to immerse yourself in the local culture and get involved with social activities. If you're studying at a language school, go along to any after class activities or join a club or society. Remember that everyone around you is in a similar position and will be hoping to make friends, so get involved in any activities and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. This is also a great way to practice your new language skills!
3. Establish a routine
The best way to beat homesickness is to establish some stability into your new life by replicating the comforts of your old home and establishing a routine. Whether it's waking up at the same time every day, going to the gym or reading the same daily newspaper or blog, it's important to bring some of your hobbies with you, and incorporate them into your new routine. Missing pizza fridays at home? Try and introduce this within your school or new friendship group. By adding activities to your daily routine, you'll have less time to worry about feeling homesick, and will gradually start to build a life that you are comfortable with and fill stable in.
4. Keep a positive attitude
Although it's easier said than done, try and maintain a positive attitude. Be realistic about your transition, and remind yourself that settling into a new county, city or school can take weeks, or even months. Stop comparing your new life to your old one, and make a list of all the things you love about your new city, school, and friends. Your situation won't improve if you focus on the negatives, so remind yourself of all the things you enjoy, and before you know it you'll be thinking about your experience in a positive light.
5. Write a journal
For those that suffer from homesickness, writing in a diary or a journal is an excellent way of processing your feelings and alleviating your stress and worry. Writing your thoughts and feelings into a journal can provide you with a sense of comfort and security, and will ultimately leave you with an honest documentation of your study abroad experience.
6. Keep in touch with home
When you're living away from home for a substantial period of time, staying connected with friends and family can help you feel like home isn't so far away. Catching up with family and friends helps you to feel involved with things that are happening back home, and can help ease feelings of isolation. Thanks to technology, Whatsapp, FaceTime, and Skype mean that your loved ones are only a video call away - make a balance between and establish regular times of contact.
7. Remind yourself why you relocated to begin with
Above all else, the best way to beat homesickness is to remind yourself why you moved to begin with. Think back to what motivated you to leave home – to learn a new language? To improve your career prospects? Whatever your motive, remind yourself of what you want to achieve and everything that you have to gain.
Whether you choose to follow these tips, or have some coping mechanisms of your own, do what you can to embrace your new surroundings and study abroad home. Homesickness is likely to be a temporary emotion, so try your best to make the most out of an experience where the memories will last a lifetime.