Three Cures for Homesickness While Studying Abroad

April 9, 2018

It’s important to accept that missing home may be a part of studying abroad. You’re far away in a new place and when you feel scared or sad or lonely, you’re going to feel homesick. That’s human. But there are a few simple ways to not let that ruin your time abroad.

Here are the tricks I use to cure homesickness.

1) Take preventative measures.

I decided to study abroad for a full year in England. While I was excited for my new adventure, I knew that I would also be missing home a lot. I had heard that the easiest way to not get stuck in those lousy feelings is to stay busy. So, I joined a theater club a few weeks into the first semester to give myself something to do and provide a way to make friends.

While I’m not an acting major, I figured I might as well audition for the play (a stage adaptation of “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe”) and be a background character or something. I ended up with the role of Susan, one of the main characters.

During the rehearsal process, I became very close with the other actors and they became a second family to me. In fact, the last show happened to be on my birthday and the entire cast sang happy birthday to me. On a day that might have otherwise made me homesick, I instead felt at home.

2) Keep making friends.

I know that I feel the most homesick when I’m lonely. These emotions go hand in hand, so to stop that horrible feeling, I try to avoid loneliness in my host country. The best way to do this is simple: make new friends. Whether it’s with people in my flat, with people in clubs and societies, with friends of other friends or just someone on the bus, I try to keep meeting new people.

You can’t stop trying! It’s easy to just stay in my room and not talk to anyone, so I challenge myself to go out. There are so many diverse and interesting people in my town and they all have different perspectives of the UK. Not only does a bigger friend group help combat my homesickness, it helps me experience the culture around me.

3) Reach back home.

But let’s say theater practice isn’t on and my friends are all busy. I’m still homesick. Luckily, this is the 21st century and technology can do amazing things. Whenever I miss home more than I can bear, I talk to my family and friends. There’s a ton of people back in the U.S. who miss me just as much as I miss them.

Someone is usually around to send a message to or start a video call with. I’d argue that the best way to cure homesickness is to reach out and to visit home virtually. There’s no shame in that.

My study abroad experience is incredible and I try to spend most of my time in the moment, but I also give myself permission to be homesick. The trick is to treat it and move on to keep enjoying the present.

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