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15 Ways to Overcome Homesickness While Studying Aboard

UserMark time04 December,2015

No one is immune to homesickness. It is something that everyone deals with whether one admits or not. With an unfamiliar culture to deal with, and the distance of hundreds and thousands of miles between your homeland and you, it is only natural to experience solitude and a perceived lack of control of what’s happening around you and wanting to take the next flight home. In short: homesickness. Instead of feeling disappointed, confused, anxious, angry and really wanting to go home, read these 15 most effective ways to end homesickness, popularly described as an emotional rollercoaster.

15 Ways to Overcome Homesickness

You may think, as an individual, you have a different way to overcome difficulties, and so do homesickness. But the strategies described here are psychologically tested ways to help anyone get immersed in the new surroundings. Yes, you are definitely missing home, cozy couch, your favorite television shows in the hall room, food in your favorite hangouts, but after reading these tips, only the great things you are about to experience in your study tour are going to matter, not awful feelings of homesickness. Let’s start!

  1. Strike a balance between contact and non-contact

Although it is easier to simply turn on Skype or pick up the phone and contact your family and friends whenever you miss your homeland, this is not a good idea in the long run because seeing people back home all the time will make you miss not being with them even more.

What actually you can do is:

Fix a day to catch up with them. This can be anything from once in a month to once in a week; what is more important is that you set a pre-arranged time and date for those meetings.

  1. Start as a tourist, then become an expat

When you step into a foreign land, you are so eager to explore everything that you end up experiencing culture shock. Don’t let cultural difference glare at you.

What actually you can do is:

Choose the most popular sites and visit them as a tourist in order to know the country’s culture and history right away. Then, once you have a good feeling for the place, begin to find ‘yourself’ in those places. For example, the places you are most comfortable with, the restaurant that has your kind of food or a great park for jogging.

  1. Make a bucket list of exploring new country

Only attending classes will not help you in overcoming cultural shock you are countering or about to. You need to put extra effort to make yourself mentally present where you are now, like making a bucket list.

What actually you can do is:

Do a little research on the place you are living and the places you want to explore, like 10 best coffee shops in the city, favorite pubs and bars. Make a list of activities and places and challenge yourself to see and fulfill those. This can be anything, like

  • Trying local food
  • Planning a trip with a friend
  • Go to a museum etc.
  1. Send a gift back home

Staying connected with your loved ones is very important while you are away from your home and also make them feel that you are enjoying your time in the new country.

What actually you can do is:

You can buy few souvenirs from the new country and send them back home. This will give you fun and purpose; keep you emotionally connected with what you care the most.

  1. Go out and make some international friends

When you have a support system around you, you are less likely to be affected by the changes taking place in your life. A group of friends in a foreign land can be your support system that will supply you the needed courage and confidence.

What actually you can do is:

Attend the carnivals where you can meet exciting and interesting people of your age. These relationships will last for next four years, you never know.

  1. Remind yourself why you are traveling

Sometimes, students become ignorant about the reason of why they travelled to foreign land in the first place. So they start cursing themselves over the decision of studying aboard. But reminding yourself why you are studying abroad can help you stay focused.

What actually you can do is:

Write down why you are here, even if it’s a Facebook post or tweet. When your friends from home ‘like’ it, their support will be infused in you in the form of courage.

  1. Stay close to your culture

Instead of trying to adopt so much to one’s culture, make sure you don’t forget your own culture during the journey. Stay close to your roots. It will provide you a sense of fulfillment on an unknown land.

What actually you can do is:

Celebrate your cultural holidays with locals and travelers. Insist your friends to do the things that you and your friends used to do in your homeland. If you are in China, throw a Thanksgiving dinner party to your friends, it will make you feel live and help you develop relationships with friends.

  1. Exercise regularly

Exercise is a crucial tool for coping. Not only it helps you to fight the homesickness feeling, but also keeps you in shape. Conversely, eating badly and being inactive will make you feel more lethargic.

What actually you can do is:

Go for daily runs. Treat yourself with fresh air by jogging around a park for at least 15 minutes, commute for your class by walking. Include yoga every morning in your routine; even it is not every morning, try it at regular intervals.

  1. Get someone to visit to

Don’t spend hours sitting in front of your laptop scanning your friends’ profile from the home. Staying connected with them is one thing and constantly wanting to be with them is another. It can be harmful in terms of emotional perspective.

What actually you can do is:

Pay visit to someone. If it is not someone you are really close, offer to meet up friends of friends and visit a party of someone whom you got to know recently (like yesterday).

  1. Always look forward to what’s ahead

This will keep you going. Sure, you have a 15-page paper due and you cannot go out this weekend for this. But also think that the paper will be over soon and the next weekend you will be partying in the coolest place of the city.

What actually you can do is:

Here is the best trick to keep you up for the week. At the beginning of the week, write down a few things that you want to do this weekend. When the time approaches, make plans with your friends. Making plans beforehand always excites one to experience it.

  1. Schedule some ‘Me’ time

It is not ideal to run from your problems. You need to face it, and find ways to solve them on your own. Someone only can help you, but it is you who has to act directly.

What actually you can do is:

Take out 30 minutes from your routine and spend it on you. Find an empty room, even if you are living in a student housing or with a family. Dim the lights, close your eyes, breathe deeply and relax. Try to avoid negative thoughts and focus on positive thoughts.

  1. Learn something new

A research has shown that absent mindedness is common in those with homesickness. You may find a hard time to concentrate on your study or lectures. At this point, try engaging your mind into something to keep your mind active.

What actually you can do is:

There is no better time to start learning a new language. You can take classes or converse with your local friends more. Learn how to cook every one of your host nations’ favorite dishes. Besides, you can also start doing yoga, martial arts, diving course.

  1. Keep up your interests

Maintaining a favorite sports and activity helps you to bring back your routine to normal after leaving your homeland. It can help you to feel a little more familiar and welcoming.

What actually you can do is:

Keep up with a book club, go rock climbing, attend yoga classes, practice in a band. Get involved in women’s rights or conservations or do volunteering to find yourself more enjoyable and purposeful.

  1. Record your journey

You may be a good writer, photographer or videographer. Use your skills to overcome homesickness. The trick can be very useful.

What actually you can do is:

If you are good at writing, keep a journal to record your experiences. When you get back home, these writings will reflect how much you have changed after you come back. Let’s say you are a good photographer or videographer, you should capture the moments you experience during your stay. The clicks or the video can be anything, a photograph of a street to a video of your group. You can cherish them for the rest of your life.

  1. Talk to others about your feelings

Don’t misunderstand that you are the first person to feel homesick; you are not likely the only one in the program as well. You might feel a lot of pressure about staying positive during your stay, especially when you need to put up a smiling face when you talk to folks back home. But it is normal, come out of your closet and find someone who is facing the same problem.

What actually you can do is:

Talk to your friends about your struggle. Chances are they are also going through the same process or may have experienced something similar in the past and may give you something that supports your need.

We know it is hard to get things together when a lot of changes are taking place. Still, you don’t have to spend all day wishing that you were somewhere else. Don’t allow homesickness shadow the experiences that can be once-in-a-life time for you. Who knows, when you return to your home country, you will be homesick for your host country then.

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