Moving away from home is extremely difficult. You can’t help but miss your culture, your food, your family, your friends, and your home. But once classes start and the newness of it all kicks in, the daily grind becomes fun and little by little you feel like you start fitting in. And then suddenly, when this place starts to feel a little bit like home, homesickness creeps in. You’re loving your school and loving your friends but why do you still feel like you’re one impulsive decision away from booking a last minute international flight? We get homesick all the time, especially when government regulations keep you from going home as often as you’d like. So, how do we deal with it?
Talk it out. If you’re in a school with a smaller international community, chances are your friends are mostly Americans and although they too get homesick, sometimes it’s hard for them to truly relate to the culture shock of going to school in the US. If the feeling of homesickness starts building up, the best thing you can do is talk to someone. Even if your friends can’t fully relate, you may learn that you’re not so different after all and that you share feelings and emotions. Plus, saying your feelings out loud helps you release the stress and feeling the support of your friends may be just what you need to understand that you also have a great community here.
Find people who can relate. Make sure you get plugged into the international student community at your school and attend their events. Embrace your cultural heritage and connect to students that are from similar places as you. It will give you an excuse to speak your language, play your music, and maybe even making your favorite home-cooked meal. Sharing your experiences and connecting on a cultural level will make it feel like even for a few hours you’re back home.
Stay connected but not too connected. You don’t have to pretend to your family and friends that everything is perfect. Be honest and let them know how you feel and then create a strategy to figure this out. Maybe you’re Facetiming too often with your best friend from home and it’s keeping you from being truly open to building relationships here. Maybe your family group chat is giving you major FOMO. Whatever it is, make sure they are aware of how you feel so they can be part of the solution, instead of unknowingly make you even more homesick.