Studying abroad should be a chance to experience something different, to broaden your horizons, forge new friendships and create lasting memories. If you find homesickness getting you down, try these tips for ensuring you make the most of your opportunity while studying in your new home.
Be a tourist
Many students who study abroad forget that it can also be a chance for a holiday. Living and studying in Australia means you have access to one of the world’s most interesting tourist destinations. Put down the books for a moment, grab a map and a daypack and set out to see the sights. Being immersed as a tourist can help shake off the homesickness blues while you discover all that makes your adopted city great.
Use social media proactively
When it comes to battling homesickness, social media can be both a blessing and a curse. If you spend too much time on it, you may find you get lost in the newsfeeds of your friends back home and make the homesickness even worse.
But if you’re proactive with your social media time it can be a tool for overcoming homesickness. Don’t just use to see what your missing out on, try:
- Spreading the word on what you’re doing.
- Showing pictures of where you’ve been up to your friends and family (they are probably dying to know more about your adventures anyway).
- Looking up new events in your area.
- Connecting with new friends.
Taste the local cuisine
No matter what your nationality is, food is one thing that everyone in the world has in common. Food helps us connect with others, and eating out can be a good way to learn about your local area, as well as a great activity to bond with new friends over. See what local dishes are on offer, or try some different types of food and drink to engage your senses and feel more comfortable in your new city.
Remember your happy habits
The upheaval of moving abroad might shake you out of some habits that kept you centered at home. Sometimes it can be good to be out of your comfort zone, other times, simple rituals can make you feel less disconnected.
It might be something as simple as watching your favourite tv show, going for a morning walk or enjoying a cup of tea in the afternoon. Routine can put our mind at ease, so if you’re homesick, it might be those habits your missing, more than home itself.
Getting the body moving releases endorphins and provides you with a healthy way to put your mind at ease. Not only will it help you overcome your homesickness, it will also make you feel better and more energetic in general, helping you work and play better in your new home.
Take up a hobby
Dancing, sport, arts and crafts – we all enjoy personal hobbies during our downtime. Studying abroad can be an opportunity to get in touch with an old hobby or even start a new one. Either way, it will help with feelings of homesickness to be engaged and focused on activities you love. What’s more, taking up a hobby such as a dance class or a team sport is the perfect way to form connections with others and make new friends.
Keep a journal
Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime adventure. Keeping a diary or journal of the things you notice, and you’ll have a lovely record of your adventure to look back on in years to come.
Writing is also a good way to alleviate stress, particularly if you hide or bury your emotions. Spend 10-20 minutes a day writing down your thoughts and feelings, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you overcome feelings of negativity and homesickness.
Form new relationships
Friends, love interests, colleagues and mentors are all relationships you can forge while studying abroad.
In some cases, you’ll meet other international students who are also far away from home, people you’ll already have something in common with. Together, you’ll be able to share tips and techniques for living abroad. You can even practice your language skills together.
Other friends you make might be locals who will know the best places eat, things to do and places to see. Local friends make it easier for you to navigate your new home and not feel isolated.
When you feel homesick, there’s a strong desire to compare how you’re feeling now to the best times you’ve had back home. Falling into this trap will only add to your feelings of loneliness and isolation.
The most likely scenario is that your life back home was a mix of ups and downs. Studying abroad won’t always be a party either, but being open to the experience is the best way to make it work for you.
Remember, it’s human nature to compare, but different doesn’t equal worse, it’s what makes the experience interesting!
Ask for help
There’s nothing wrong with looking for help from other people. You deserve to be happy and healthy and enjoy your study abroad. If you can’t beat the blues, seek out counselling services and see how they can help you improve your situation.