Many students feel a longing for home or a sadness from being absent from home and loved ones while in school, whether that be in a study abroad program or attending a college far away.
Like being on a roller coaster, homesickness can come and go in waves. Sometimes you feel completely fine and don’t think about home while at other times you feel depressed and long for familiarity.
This is normal, and you should never be ashamed of wanting to go home. Whether you are studying abroad or just attending a university that is far away, there are ways positive ways that you can cope with how you are feeling.
Try Something New
Although it seems contradictory, trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone can ease your homesickness as the experience will take your mind off of dwelling on the past to focusing on the now.
Get out of your comfort zone. Go on adventures and enjoy exploring your new surroundings. It could be something small like going to that cute coffee shop down the road, or in my case you could go zip lining (great experience by the way).
Use Technology, But Not Too Much
Technology is a great way to keep in touch with what’s going on back home, but there is such a thing as being too plugged in. Your main focus while away should be experiencing what’s new. Being on your phone the entire time can take away from your adventures.
FaceTime your parents every once in a while, post a cool photo on Instagram, but then put your phone down. You can tell your family and friends about what happened later!
Make a Bucket List
Although it may sound cliché, working towards goals and checking things off a list can give you a sense of self fulfillment.
For example, in my time studying abroad in Costa Rica I’ve already checked off snorkeling, zip lining (did I already say that?), taking dance classes and more (still have to get a tattoo, building up the courage currently!)
A bucket list is also a great way to look back on your experiences and to make sure you’re continuously reaching goals.
Get into a Routine
While getting out of your comfort zone is beneficial, you can fill the void of familiarity by getting into a routine. Naturally this will come when you start classes, but if you enjoy going to the gym, reading for pleasure, or whatever your hobbies might be, fit those into your routine. Schedule in some time to do things you love and are familiar with. This will give you a chance to escape and recharge from all the new things you're experiencing.
It’s important to remember that it’s normal to experience all kinds of feelings when you are somewhere completely new. Leaving home is never easy, and you should always allow yourself to feel sad, nostalgic, lonely, or whatever way you’re feeling. Don't be afraid to talk about what you're feeling with others. You are not alone in your experience.
Taylor Hunter has been updating us with her experience studying abroad in Costa Rica this semester. Read the rest of the articles in the series: