Dealing With Homesickness…
I thought I would write a blog today about homesickness… As an International student living in an entirely new environment, away from the people you love, it is normal to sometimes feel a bit homesick. Personally I have found that although I love it here, there are times when I just miss being at home, around things, customs and people that are familiar. And although obviously ways to cope with this will be totally different for every person, I want to share a few ways that have helped me to get through a tough day!
- Make a list of all the reasons that you’re here and what you want to achieve by being here. This may be a mixture of academic, travelling or making friends but it can really help you to keep a goal in mind and remember your purpose.
- Chat to a friend: if possible talk to a friend at University, it’s likely that he/she has also gone through a similar thing and may have tips for helping to cope with the change and unfamiliarity that living in a new country may bring. Otherwise a quick skype to home can certainly do wonders, just make sure you don’t spend too much talking to the people you love at home and not settling in abroad. It may seem easy just to chat to your family but getting out and meeting new people can do wonders to make you feel more at home!
- Join everything! If you have a lonely evening (and not too much studying to do!) just get out and try new things, the ISN has loads of things to appeal to anyone and otherwise lots of Dutch clubs will also take on international students. Get networking and interacting and, if you’re living in Leiden like me, you’ll soon start to get to know half the city! If you keep yourself busy, you’re bound to stop being homesick really fast.
- Be patient with yourself, you don’t have to assume that you’re going to feel at home in a new place really fast, making a new home can take time t. If you get into a routine and start to get integrated into life here you’ll probably suddenly realise that you’re just not that homesick anymore, but don’t always assume that it will go away over night. Try not to stress that you are feeling homesick and get on with your classes and studies, thinking about difficult work may stop your mind thinking about another place it wants to be.
- Finally, I think the best way to stop homesickness is to leave the comfort of your room, get some exercise and try to appreciate your new city. Remember that you are a tourist, look at the beauty around, maybe take some photos to send to friends back home. Importantly remember that it’s not forever and so it’s just important to make the most of all the time that you do have here. Sometimes it can be tough, but living in a new place is also so rewarding, something I especially realised tonight walking home through the beautiful Christmas lights of the city center 🙂