When we are twenty-something, we are more productive with our newly-gained knowledge, wanting to quickly apply all that we learn into our everyday life. Our twenties are also our selfish years. We are eager to experiment with different lifestyles, experience new things and places, meet people, etc. Whether we are traveling for fun, or for job opportunities, or studying abroad, the majority of us will of course be excited to leave our home for immersive adventures.
However, once we land on the foreign soil, we soon notice that it is not as glamorous as we’ve imagined. Sure, the fun parts are there, as expected: flavorsome meals, gorgeous views, fascinating culture, warmhearted locals… but something is missing. Soon enough, we realize that we’re longing for our home. Whether it’s the homemade meals or the family board game nights, we start to miss even the smallest of things that remind us of home. While we’re young and traveling, majority of us will experience homesickness.
During the daytime, we go on ventures, and explore the foreign land. At night, we clutch the pillow, wishing we were home. Feelings of sadness, fear, maybe even anger overwhelms us; we want to go home badly, yet we can’t.
Moreover, the holiday seasons might just be the worst. The jolly streets embellished with illuminating bulbs on the foreign land would somehow remind us of the tacky, cheap decorations we put on in our family room at home. It is also the loneliness after we hang up the long distance phone call with our friends and family that hits us in the worst way possible.
Homesickness doesn’t go away overnight; however, it doesn’t have to linger more than we want it to. Traveling was a part of my childhood and adolescence. I understood that being homesick is perfectly normal, and I try not to let it get too overwhelming. Over the years, I learned to develop some coping mechanisms when I was becoming really homesick. Here are some of my favorites:
Journaling: Writing down the eventful occurrences and thoughts everyday help us organize our feelings, and is a useful record of our experiences and adventures
Reaching out to family or friends from home (not too often!): Even if your home may be far from you, you can probably see and hear from your friends and family with a click of a few buttons. Having a simple call with our loved ones can make us feel connected to home and give us comfort.
Organizing our new living environment: Clean out your space and keep it organized, go to Ikea and get decorations or even pick out new plants to put in your room. It’s important to make sure that you feel comfortable in your new space.
Keep yourself busy: Join school events, hang out with friends, go shopping, pick up new hobbies – just put yourself out there.
Keep a healthy, positive attitude: Be brave and not afraid of trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone. You’re already away from home and in an unfamiliar territory, might as well go all out and not hold yourself back from experiencing it all.
Lastly, I believe it is crucial to understand that being homesick is normal and real. At its core, it is about yearning for security in a new environment. As students, we can also utilize campus counseling as a method to cope with homesickness.