Home Away from Home: Dealing with Homesickness

                                                                                           An uphill battle – the homesickness dilemma

Whether you are an excited Fresher entering university this autumn, a traveler on their gap year, or an exchange student going on a year abroad, there is one reality you will have to face – homesickness.

Homesickness is bound to happen whenever you are away from home for prolonged periods of time, whether it’s because of culture shock, or because you miss your friends and family. So how can you cope with homesickness? Let us see…

                Remember – it’s a natural process

Having homesickness is normal. In fact, it is the process of adapting to a new place. For travel, we get homesickness due to culture shock. The first stage of culture shock is usually the ‘honeymoon’ phase, where everything seems fine and perfect. Afterwards, however, enters the frustration phase. You are fatigued by constantly trying to keep up with the new environment, and feel like you want to go home. This phase is usually the problem, but you should remember to stick through until you get to the adjustment and acceptance stage. Homesickness is an emotional rollercoaster, a reaction to you not being in your usual environment and your usual routine. So, the key here is to remember that bad times will pass and it will get better.

                Don’t neglect your friends and family

One way to help you adjust slowly to a place full of unfamiliar faces is by keeping in touch with your friends and family. It is normal for you to initially have many video calls, and then having the sessions fade out over time. Until you have found yourself new people you can rely on and talk to, talking to your loved ones is a good way to cope.

                Put yourself out there

Keep yourself occupied! If you’re constantly busy, you will meet more people, socialise, discover new things, and ultimately feel better. If you have started university or are on a year abroad, join a club! It may be something that is completely new to you – challenge yourself! Clubs are one of the best ways to find friends, since they are full of like-minded people. There must have been something that brought you both to that art club! If you feel daunted by this, it is best to try and push yourself. You will definitely thank yourself later.

                Take time to relax

Do the things you used to enjoy back home. Read a book, watch your favourite movie, play a game. De-stressing yourself is important, and lets you forget about your worries, even if it’s for a little while.

Just remember – take care of yourself and your wellbeing. Don’t let homesickness get to you and don’t skip any meals or opportunities for socialisation. It is an uphill battle, but it is one you will surely win.