Avoid homesickness while studying abroad
Homesickness: the feeling of being unhappy because of being away from home for a long period (Cambridge Dictionary)
Homesickness is a natural reaction, and it is a part of the human experience. Mild homesickness can gradually decrease over time. However, extreme homesickness can lead to major depression and physical symptoms.
Separation is hard, and homesickness is, sometimes, an unavoidable feeling, but there is a need to adapt to the new environment while remaining connected to your past. In order to do so, here are some tips:
- Talk to someone
Sometimes, you just want your feelings to be recognized and heard. The act of sharing your concerns or challenges with someone help reducing emotional distress while finding more effective ways in adjusting to your new surroundings.
You can either talk to a mental health counsellor or other international students who can navigate you comfortably. Through listening and giving advice, they provide space for you to deal with and overcome homesickness. Coquitlam College student services can provide you with more information on where to go and who to ask for help. Or check out the COVID Alert page (red banner at the top of the website) for more ideas for help.
- Bring a little bit of home with you
A tip for you when packing your stuff before relocating to a new area: bring some comforts from home with you. They can be pictures of your families and friends or traditional customs or some of your favorite books from home, etc. As long as the items make you feel closer to home or make you feel less out of place, homesickness can be combatted.
- Make a bucket list to keep yourselves busy
Creating a bucket list is a great way to keep yourselves busy while be exposed to interesting new activities. It is time to leave your room, explore your new neighborhood, enroll in some interesting extracurricular classes, adopt new hobbies, and make new friends. Be adventurous! There are so many things to do in this multicultural country.
Make a Bucket List and Challenge Yourselves!
- Foster a healthy self-care routine
When you experience homesickness, self-care is what you need the most. And, create your own self-care package is a great first step to start off. A customized care package, similarly, includes watching an interesting movie and/or trying to hit the gym at least once a week and/or scheduling some “me” time everyday, etc. Whether the activities are parts of your physical, social, mental, spiritual or emotional self-care routine, as long as they can help you restore balance in life, you are one step closer in reducing homesickness and achieving the maturity of adulthood.
Coping with your new living environment is hard. Especially with Thanksgiving around the corner, international students tend to miss the memories of their loved ones gathering at the table even more. We feel you!
Homesickness is not a disease, but extreme homesickness can be. It is important for you to recognize your vulnerable feelings and find effective ways to nurture a more positive mindset.