I know the feeling. Wanting to go into the arms that you know, the ones that will catch you and make you feel safe after a long, defeating day. Wanting the presence of someone who you know loves you unconditionally, and accepts all your flaws, mistakes and every other weakness you think you have. Wanting to get away from all the uncertainty and newness around you. Wanting to be surrounded by the things that you know. Wanting to go home.
Whether it is a person or a place, home is where we long to be because we know it well and it knows us well. For many, studying-abroad in a foreign country a continent away may be the first time in their life being away from home. It can be hard, and it usually is. So here are seven tips for when dealing with homesickness that I hope you will find helpful.
- Let yourself cry. Bottling up won’t work in the long run. So go ahead and have yourself a dramatic moment. It’s okay.
- Talk to someone who will listen, even if it is your diary. It’s nice to share your feelings with another person even if they cannot offer you any advice. Letting your thoughts escape your mind can be liberating. Call up someone you love or open up to someone new. Have no one to talk to? Don’t worry. There’s a saying that Anne Frank has mentioned in her diary, “Paper is more patient than a man.” So if you find that there is no one who can listen, you can always write out your feelings.
- Remember why you are where you are. Why did you leave home? There has to be a reason. Is it to learn a new culture? To experience independence? Remind yourself what it is. Knowing the “why” is one the most important techniques to stay on track and true to your plans.
- Listen to your favorite pick-me-up song. Don’t judge, but “Nobody’s Perfect” from Hannah Montana always works for me! Let your hair down and sing along to whatever song that speaks to your soul.
- Get involved with new things. Whether it is trying new activities, visiting new places or meeting new people, get involved! Make it your priority to attend new events, go out often and explore all the things the new place has to offer. You may not like them all – you don’t need to – but don’t limit yourself, just keep trying different things.
- Nurture your interests. Don’t forget about them! If you are interested in art, go to a museum and explore. If you love cooking, go ahead and chef it up in the kitchen. If you want to dance, go dance. Do things that YOU are interested in. No need to sacrifice your interests just because you are at a new place.
- Take a deep breath. I promise, it will all be alright. 🙂
Remember that magic is there if you look for it! Stepping outside your comfort zone is the best way to grow as a person and to learn what you are capable of. Feeling homesick is totally normal. Believe it or not, soon, this new place will most likely become another home of yours.