The academic year has started and students are finally settling back into their school routine. It’s always hard to be away from home, especially when you’re an international student who doesn’t live in England – and it’s OK to be homesick when you’re studying abroad; it’s normal and totally acceptable to feel like this.
Don’t get me wrong… studying abroad is fun and great! It gives you the opportunity to unite with different cultures, mingle with new people, and try out new things, as well as allowing yourself to broaden your perspective in ways you’ve never thought of! But there are downsides and I personally can say that homesickness has affected me greatly…
Originally from Hong Kong, returning back to the UK usually takes me around 14 hours of travelling time – plus the jetlag I have to suffer from that usually keeps me up at night and gets me thinking of home. Yeah I miss my family, the landscapes, the skyscrapers, and surprisingly the humidity, but I’ve figured out my ways in combatting with homesickness (although I still have my moments), here are some tips that could help you too:
Don’t spend too much time sitting in your room
Isolating yourself will make your mind become overwhelmed with emotions, which will lead you to contemplating on what you miss about home. My advice is to keep busy. Taking part in social activities or even going for a walk will take your mind off things. Even studying at the library rather than your bedroom will do you some good!
And if you really prefer to just sit in your room, glam it up with some home comforts – to help me feel calm I have a few cuddly toys, a blanket from my old bedroom, and a ton of photos of family and friends on my walls!
Explore your surroundings!
Head out with your friends, get to know the city you’re living in, know what’s going on in your local community to avoid the sense of unfamiliar surroundings. Remember, you’re here for a few years so you might as well get to know the place so you’re comfortable with everything new!
Thank goodness for technology!
You can always easily keep in touch with your loved ones through Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook etc. There are so many ways to keep in touch with your family and friends. But don’t do this too much as you’ll end up feeling further away from each other… which is the last thing you want.
You don’t want to end up spending more time with people over technology than with your friends at University. It’s important to create new memories and stories so that you have plenty to tell when you finally head back home!
Hit the gym
Before starting University, I’ve probably hit the gym once or twice in my life, but I ended up buying a gym membership in my first year and trust me – it helped a lot. When I was stressed or anxious, hitting the gym would always calm my nerves and get my mind off things. Staying healthy and sweating it out really helped me get through my first year and kept me feeling more positive!
Pay attention to the beauty of where you’re living
Keep reminding yourself why you chose to study abroad in the first place! Doing this allows you to focus more on where you are in the moment. Reminding yourself your reasons will help you put everything into perspective – a great way to do this is writing on sticky notes and sticking them on your desk!
Starting your mornings with a positive mind-set will really help you focus on the good things in life, and be thankful that you’re given this opportunity to study abroad and at a great university.