Studying abroad is definitely one of the most exciting experiences a student can embark on, but once the initial excitement wears off, many students are plagued by homesickness. While these feelings are totally normal and to be expected, they can inhibit you from getting the most out of your abroad experience! Listed below are some expert tips on how to beat homesickness:
- Schedule a weekly call with your loved ones. One of the most effective ways to feel still connected to your life at home is to have regularly scheduled calls with family and friends back home. Be it a phone call or a video chat, having consistent contact with loved ones can make you feel less alone. And in the digital age, apps like Whatsapp make it easier to connect with friends and family than ever before.
- Be careful not to isolate yourself. While keeping in touch with family and friends can be great for combatting homesickness, it can also exacerbate the problem. If you focus too much on what’s going on back home, you’ll miss out on what’s going on right in front of you! It’s fine to miss home sometimes, but make sure you’re limiting your calls and social media stalking to about once a week or so, and spend the rest of your time being present in the place that you are.
- Reach out to classmates. The worst thing to believe is that you are alone in your feeling of homesickness. It hits every student at some point during the abroad experience, so voice your feelings to roommates and classmates. Having a support system in your host country will ease the homesickness and also help you make more connections to explore your temporary home.
- Give yourself “American” time. Sometimes, you just need a little piece of home. Marking off a little time in your week for a typical American show, or finding a market that sells American snacks, can give you a taste of home that’ll squelch homesickness for a bit.
- Keep busy! Remember that this is a fleeting experience, and any second spent being homesick is a second that could be spent falling in love with your host country. Every experience that you are having abroad, even things as minute as walking to class, is a thousand times more interesting than anything your friends are doing back home.
These tricks really helped me while I was abroad, and I hope they can do the same for you!
Kristen Nichols graduated from Pitt in 2017 with a major in Environmental Studies, a minor in Economics and a Global Studies certificate in Sustainable Development. She studied abroad in London, England in Spring 2016.
This article originally appeared in The Traveling Times, a Study Abroad Office online newsletter.