Dealing With Homesickness While Studying Abroad

By Danielle Wirsansky on February 8, 2020

Studying abroad can bring with it fabulous opportunities for any college student lucky enough to partake in it. New lands, new cultures, new languages, new friends, new music, new food and so much more! It can help you to build your resume or get you industry-specific knowledge or experience. It can help you master a language or give you a familiarity with the customs of a country your job might need you to interact with.

But as many advantages that studying abroad can bring, there is usually one fatal drawback: homesickness. Even though you are off having an adventure, it can still be hard to avoid homesickness. Some students cannot even face the idea of being homesick and so do not even go and study abroad at all.

If you would still like to study abroad, even though it is likely that you will become homesick, then you should as there are plenty of strategies that you can use to overcome it. Read on to learn about dealing with homesickness while studying abroad!

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

Make A Regular Appointment

An easy way to keep homesickness away is to keep yourself from missing your loved ones too much—by staying in regular contact! Time zones can be pesky things that often keep people from conversing regularly. Or when you are studying abroad, you can be overwhelmed by the tidal wave of things to do and see and study that it can be hard to stay in touch.

Instead of waiting until your homesickness gets the best of you, preempt it by having a regularly scheduled time to communicate with the people you miss. Whether that is a phone call or a video chat session is up to you and what you feel most comfortable with or have access to in the country you are visiting.

That way, it is on your agenda so you should have less trouble forgetting to get in contact or and you do not end up feeling sad and alone and unable to get ahold of anyone when you need them (whether that is due to scheduling or time zone interference). Your loved ones will still be in your life and involved in what you are doing, even if you are far away.

Isn’t technology great?

Create A Scrapbook

Another great way to stave off homesickness is to keep your family and friends involved in your adventures. Just because they cannot be there in person does not mean that they cannot be with you in your spirit and heart, and sometimes, that can work nearly as well.

How can you do that? By keeping a scrapbook, or a diary, or making a video series of your adventures abroad to keep them involved.

As you study abroad, you can stay present in the moment and let your loved ones share your experience by creating something that shares your experience with them as best you can. They might not be there physically, but they can share in your experiences by seeing pictures, reading about them, and watching them from afar.

They will also serve as really great mementos for you to be able to look back on and revisit to remember and reflect back on your time spent studying abroad.

Make New Friends

Surely you have heard the old adage: make new friends, but keep the old. Just because you are studying abroad in a distant land does not mean that you cannot keep your old friends. You will certainly be homesick then. But it also does not mean that you cannot make new friends while studying abroad.

You will meet so many new, fascinating people while studying abroad. Let them into your life and make lasting connections that will endure even after your study abroad adventure ends. While you cannot be with the old family and friends that are leaving a gap in your social life and a hole in your heart, you can make new ones to fill those gaps and holes while you are abroad.

Making new friends can make you feel less lonely, and thus less homesick. New friends give you outlets to share your thoughts and feelings as well as gives you people to do things with so you get out of your dorm or other housing. You want to actually experience the place you are studying abroad in, not spend the whole time alone, riddled with homesickness! Let new people, whether they be fellow students or people native to the land you are studying in, into your life.

Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

If you can muster it, do not let fear or anxiety stop you from having the adventure and learning experience of a lifetime. We can all get a little bit of homesickness at times. But a little bit of homesickness always makes the return home a little sweeter.

Danielle Wirsansky graduated from FSU with a BA in Theatre, a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History, and an MA in Modern European History with a minor in Public History. While a graduate student, she served as the Communications Officer for the History Graduate Student Association and President/Artistic Director of White Mouse Theatre Productions. She studied abroad in London, England for the Spring 2015 semester at FSU's study center for the Playwriting Program and interned for the English National Theatre of Israel in Summer of 2015. Her first musical, City of Light, opened as part of FSU's New Horizons Festival in Spring of 2016. She has also won the MRCE and URCAA Research grants from FSU. In the past, she served as the Marketing Director for the FSU Student Theatre Association, the intern for the Holocaust Education Resource Council, and the research assistant of Prof. Nathan Stoltzfus. She has previously written for Context Florida (Contributing Writer), USA Today College (Contributing Writer), Sheroes of History (Contributing Blogger), No(le)Reservations (Contributing Blogger), Female, Reloaded (Arts/Entertainment Editor) , I Want a Buzz Magazine (intern), Mandarin Newsline (youth arts update columnist), Distink Designs (Guest blogger), whatscheaper.com (associate editor), escapewizard.com (associate editor), Spark TLH (Contributor), the Tallahassee Democrat (contributor), Elan Literary Magazine (Head of Marketing), and the Improviser Newspaper (Opinions Editor). Danielle has been lucky to be writing for Uloop since 2015 and to have served as the FSU Campus Editor since 2015.

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