Getting over homesickness when studying abroad

study abroad

You were approved to participate in a study abroad program in Europe, where you’ll be for a whole semester taking psychology, literature, and business courses. You’re excited, but once your airplane lands and you settle into your student housing, it hits you. You feel sad and miss everyone back home. Everything in your host country feels so strange and confusing, and you question why you decided to apply to the program in the first place. Homesickness can be a common concern if you’re studying abroad for the first time. Here are some tips on how to help your homesickness.

Build a support group

It’s easy to feel isolated if you’re always in your room or in class. However, remember that everyone is in the same situation as you; eager to make new friends. If you’re studying abroad, most universities have clubs for international students, where you can go on trips, have game nights or go to the cinema with your peers. These clubs are a great way to get to know a new city and make friends. Having activities and people to meet up with is a great way to build a support system of people to turn to if you’re feeling sad. Plus, when you’re having fun, it’s easier to forget that you’re far from home.

Stay in touch

One of the best things about studying abroad in today’s world is that all you need is a Wifi connection to see old friends and family. Thanks to FaceTime and Skype, anytime you’re feeling lonely, schedule a video chat date with a friend or family member. Spending some time catching up with loved ones will help you feel connected to the people back home. Social media channels like Snapchat and Instagram allow you to easily share pictures and videos from your day so everyone you love and miss can see your adventures abroad.

Explore the city

Studying abroad is all about experiencing a new culture in a new location. Whether you’re studying abroad in a vibrant European capital like Prague or in a smaller city in the Far East, you’re going to want to explore your new surroundings. So hop on the metro, and start visiting the museums, cafes, art galleries, restaurants, and pubs. See live music shows, or visit the local theater. Take advantage of all the new culture around you as well as that student discount. Finding all your favorite new places can help you appreciate your experience and remind you why you decided to study abroad in the first place.

Study, study, study

Being a new country can be a little intimidating. Sometimes coming to an international university means adapting to teaching methods you’re not used to. For example, many students from Western countries who are used to a seminar approach in their courses might need to adjust to an Asian style of instruction, where it can be more formal with traditional lectures. Allow yourself some time to adjust to any changes, and spend time studying. Studying can be a good distraction from homesickness on nights when you don’t feel like being social.

You’re not alone

One of the toughest things about feeling lonely is that you feel like you’re the only one experiencing it. Remember that you’re not alone. Many international students are feeling the same feelings you are and it’s ok to feel homesickness. It’s a natural emotion if you’re away from home for the first time. If you ever need extra support, don’t hesitate and reach out to the student counseling services available on campus. The university is there to help you!

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