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Dealing with Homesickness While Studying Abroad

An overseas internship or international study experience is bound to be exciting, mind-expanding, potentially even life changing. It might also prove difficult, at least in part. One of the most common challenges that our students face is homesickness. It’s completely natural to pine for your friends, family, and normal life, even if you’re overall having a great time in a foreign land.

While there’s not necessarily a “cure” for homesickness, there are some practical steps you can take to keep it in check. Here are a few of the recommendations we make to our interns or students who find themselves longing for home.

How to Handle Homesickness

Explore Your New Environment

One way to mediate your homesickness is to immerse yourself in a new culture; act like a tourist and throw yourself into adventure and exploration.

 

  • Start with the obvious “touristy” destinations, but once you become more familiar with the city, try to find some niche places that may be a little off the beaten path.
  • Overexpose yourself to the things that are causing you to feel homesick. For example, is the busyness of your new town making you apprehensive? Spend some time getting lost in the crowd until you start to feel more comfortable and relaxed.
  • Make a bucket list! Write down all the things you really want to do in your host country, then get cracking! This can be a great way to feel excited and purposeful in your temporary home.
  • Be intentional in trying as many kinds of local food as possible. Get a big-picture view of the local culinary scene.
  • Be vigilant in documenting your stay. This can be with a blog, a journal, or a camera. Try to capture some of your intern/study abroad experience so that you might remember it with clarity.
  • Treat your temporary home like it’s truly your home. Get the amenities you need for it to really feel like it’s yours.

Change Your Perception

Another important aspect of beating homesickness is to change your entire attitude about home. Some specific tips include:

  • Send a gift to your family or friends back home, a great way to stay connected to the people you love.
  • Don’t overdo it with Skype and FaceTime. These technologies can be helpful for maintaining your connections, but if you spend all your time Skyping, you’re bound to think too much about the folks back home.
  • Limit your daily social media time, as well; the best way to fight homesickness is to engage with where you are, not disappear into screens.

Practice Self-Care

Finally, make sure you’re doing everything you can to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing, thus lowering your vulnerability to homesickness.

  • Maintain your usual fitness habits, whether that means going for a morning run or finding a good local yoga class.
  • Create some healthy rhythms and routines to give you a sense of consistency.
  • Spend plenty of time outside, especially in the sunshine!
  • Avoid giving into unhealthy cravings, such as for sugar and junk food.
  • Schedule a little quiet time each day to relax and let your mind drift.

Make the Most of Your International Experience

Homesickness can be expected on any long trip… but it shouldn’t keep you from having a great experience studying abroad.

To start planning your experience, reach out to ALZEA INDIA today.