5 Things To Do When You Get Homesick

Studying abroad is a time of sheer excitement. You have left your home and everything comfortable and familiar, and you have completely submerged yourself into something new and exciting. And for a while, everything is great. You are having the time of your life, and it seems as though nothing can hold you back. Then suddenly, BAM. It hits you. You realize you are living in a foreign country, alone, and it’s not all that exciting anymore. You miss home more than anything and you are almost ready to go back, all the new is suddenly too much to handle. This slum is rough, and for some it lasts weeks, and other it lasts just a few days. Here is a list of a few things that you can do to pull yourself out of this nasty slum, and get back to enjoying your study abroad experience.

1. Call Mom and Dad

I know you are an adult now and you are living in a foreign country and you are doing it all on your own, but it is absolutely okay to call your parents and let them know you miss them. They will love to hear you love and miss them, and chances are just the sound of their voice will make you feel better. Plus, as much as I hate to admit it, parents always give the best advice when you’re down. They have this strange power to know exactly what to say to lift your spirits.

Jordan and her family
Jordan and her family

2. Look at pictures

Scroll through the photo library on your phone or computer and look at some old photos. It will be nice to see some familiar faces of people you love, and chances are recalling some happy memories will make you smile.

3. Listen to your favorite song

Music is a magical thing. Nothing has the power to change your mood faster than a great song. Throw on some headphones, or plug in a speaker and blast your favorite song. It will make you smile and lift your spirits before the chorus, and you will definitely feel inspired and ready to take on the rest of your study abroad experience. Pro tip: Spotify premium is only $4.99 a month for students and lets you listen to all your favorite songs, even when you don’t have access to the internet. Best $4.99 I’ve ever spent.

4.Remember it’s not permanent

I recently got some great advice from a friend about dealing with homesickness. She reminded me that nothing is permanent. Sometimes, it is comforting to remember that YOU ARE NOT STUCK HERE. You can purchase a plane ticket and be home in 24 hours. Mind you, I’m not saying you should actually purchase the ticket and leave. In fact, you should absolutely stay and work through your feelings and figure it out. But, it is comforting to know in the back of your mind, that you are not stuck here forever.

5. Spend time with friends

Finally, spend some time with your new abroad friends. They are your own little family, and with them you will create your home away from home. Surround yourself with great people and positive vibes, and you won’t be down for long.

John Lennon says it best.
John Lennon says it best.
Your friends abroad truly become your family.
Your friends abroad truly become your family.

Time to Reflect…

We loved this particular post by a DU student currently in Argentina… she made two really great points:

“Being the foreign exchange student here has made me feel super guilty for how I have viewed foreign exchange students at DU. Probably 20% of DU is foreign students from China, and a lot of them are cliquey, and I haven’t tried to make any friends with them. I’ve found it a pain to work with people in classes who don’t speak English as well, because I was solely thinking about my grades. But now I’m in that exact position as the weird foreigner who cliques with the other foreigners, sits with the rest of the US kids, speaks English with the other exchange students, and am the one nobody wants in their group for class because I can’t do as quality work. I will never again take for granted how hard it is to switch cultures and be the foreign exchange student, and the intercambios at DU deserve so much more credit from students at DU.  DU prides itself in their inclusiveness, but I don’t think you can really understand the meaning of this until after studying abroad in a country with a different culture, different language, different customs…”

Argentinian street
Argentinian street, Photo by Rachel Firmin

“… It’s a trade off, choosing to travel or immerse myself completely into the city. It’s two different ways of experiencing Argentina and progressing my Spanish, and although I’ve seen amazing views, I wish I could say I’ve made lifelong Argentinian friendships, because I really haven’t. The people in my program are amazing, and we are already talking about reunions, but I can’t say that I have connected strongly with the people of Mendoza. This is probably the one major flaw in my experience abroad.”

You can read the full post here.