Coping with Homesickness
I didn’t really expect it to happen. I don’t have a “permeant address” in the US. My parents live on the other side of the country, and I spend less than a week at their place a year. My Aunt lives about 1.5 hours from my school, and my grandma about 40 minutes from her. I consider both of these places to be my “home-base”. I spent my summer subletting in my College town and spend the school year in dorms. This being said, I didn’t really think I’d be home sick.
But it’s been hard this past week. I realized it’s not necessarily the place I miss, but I do miss my friends. And I would really love to go home and cuddle with my puppies. Thankfully, my homesickness only lasted three or four days. Here’s what I did:
- Netflix. Watching your favorite show, or even just something based in The States. It comforts you when you have a fever, why shouldn’t it work for this?
- Eating something from home. I had some peanut butter, which I know can be expensive depending on your location. Try making something yourself. I made my European friends some pancakes one weekend, they loved it and I was happy to have something from home.
- Message or Skype your friends. I blew up my best friend’s phone with anything I was thinking of that she might find funny (an apologized for the ceaseless messages) but laughing with her about things, even just through text, was something I was desperately craving. Alternatively, if you’re already spending too much time doing this, try taking a break!
- Plan a trip. I’ve been working on my Easter Break plans since January and was finally kinking out some details. Getting excited about a trip will help you forget what you’re missing!
- Call your mom/uncle/sister/grandpa. Whoever knows you best. They might know just what to say to cheer you up. My mom reminded me about a lot of things that I don’t like about the US, which might sound weird, but definitely helped.
- Do something normal. Go to the gym, do your homework, fold some laundry. Spend a lot of time at the local coffee shop at home? Pick one in your new city! Try to establish a schedule (even if it’s just for a few days). I spend much more time studying at my home university than I do here, but it was a nice feeling to get work accomplished after finally buckling down and doing some homework (as much as I didn’t want to do it at first).
- Get involved! Join a club or sport. Check to see if there’s an international student society so you can bond with people from home, but also meet new friends from other countries! In the Art Club at your home university? - Join the one at your current University and share your interests with new people!
-Try something new. Fall absolutely in love with something in your city. It could be food or a new jogging path.
Remember, it’s only temporary. Before you know it, you’ll be home and missing your study abroad location. Remember to make the most of your time while you’re abroad.
Keep your chin up!
The trip to Budapest was amazing! I did not know what to expect from Budapest because my roommate just told me to go with her so I was up for anything, but it ended up being one of my favorite trips so far of my study abroad experience. The hostel we stayed at gave us an excellent taste of the Budapest night life while Bogi took us to places that I definitely would not have been able to get to on my own or had known about if not for her WSA tour. It was a great weekend and I highly recommend it.Mary Reagan, Saint Louis University ~ St. Louis University, Madrid, Spring 2015
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