How to Handle Homesickness While Studying Abroad?


Aarushi Jain
Updated on Jul 25, 2022 01:47 PM IST

Aside from all the excellent things that come with foreign education, one of the most dreaded side effects is homesickness. Here are a few tips that will help you in dealing with your homesickness while studying abroad.

How to Handle Homesickness While Studying Abroad?

Homesickness While Studying Abroad: Without a question, studying abroad is an unforgettable experience for every student. Although it provides many personal and professional opportunities, living alone in a new nation can be difficult. Being a student is difficult enough, and travelling away from home for university is a significant enough shift to make any international student homesick.

Everyone experiences homesickness while studying abroad, whether they confess it or not. This is both a good and a bad thing. This indicates that you will very certainly have to deal with it as well. But it also means that if everyone else who has studied abroad has dealt with it, so can you too.

Although homesickness is natural, it can dampen your enthusiasm for a fresh beginning. So, to help you enjoy your time abroad, here are some tips that will help you de-stress and deal with homesickness while studying abroad.

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What is Homesickness?

Before discussing how to handle homesickness while studying abroad, we must first understand the meaning of homesickness. Homesickness is the emotional sorrow induced by being separated from one's home. Many people may perceive it differently. The following are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Feeling dejected, melancholy, or depressed

  • Sadness for the loss of familiar surroundings

  • Nervousness or anxiety

  • Avoiding or withdrawing from other people

  • Desiring to remain in your room or being terrified to leave it

  • Getting nostalgic for items that remind you of home

  • Being quickly bothered by new items or things done differently than you are accustomed to

How to Handle Homesickness as an International Student?

Now that you understand what is homesickness, let us find out how can we handle homesickness while studying abroad as an international students. 

Try Not to Talk to Your Friends and Family Everyday

This is arguably one of the most difficult things, but it is extremely beneficial. It is difficult to settle down while you are talking to your loved ones, especially when you are telling one other how much you miss each other, ultimately increasing your homesickness while studying abroad. It is apparent that they would miss you and that you will miss them while studying abroad. Instead, spend time conversing with your host family/new friends.

Distract Yourself 

Overthinking is the most dangerous thing you can do. It is sometimes beneficial to talk about your homesickness with someone. Others find relief through physical activity. Indulge in activities like reading books or listening to music which helps a lot of international students to distract their minds while they are feeling homesick as an international student. Find something that makes you happy and do it. Students can also take up part-time jobs while studying abroad to earn their pocket money and to keep themselves busy. 

Make New Friends 

This is the most important way to get away from your homesickness while studying abroad. Of course, you must have planned on making a lot of new acquaintances by moving to your new country, but it is sometimes more difficult than you think. They will speak a different language, which will be difficult even if you have mastered their language. But you must not give up. Discover a technique to communicate with others. Everything becomes easier when you have somebody to chat with and have fun with.

Be Active 

Physical activity is one of the most effective approaches to staying happy and dealing with homesickness while studying abroad. It naturally stimulates endorphins, which are happy chemicals in the brain. Take a walk or ride your bike. Every day, try to do something physical. But keep in mind that sometimes a peaceful day to yourself is just as necessary.

Do Not Make Comparisons

While being homesick, if you keep comparing your study abroad location with your home country, there is no way you can be at peace in a foreign land as an international student. Almost everything you do will be unique to you. Remember, this is why you chose to be an exchange student! You wanted to learn about another culture and how people lived. Things are not the same: neither better nor worse.

You Are Not Alone 

Remember that you are not alone who is dealing with homesickness while studying abroad.  You may feel entirely alone and without anybody to turn to from time to time. Remember, nothing could be further from the truth. Your host family has been instructed on how to assist you with your homesickness. Talk to them if you're depressed! Almost always, they will be able to help you! You can also contact your regional coordinator. That is precisely why they are present.

Have Fun 

As previously said, you have been granted an incredible chance to study abroad and build your career. Few people have the opportunity to travel to and live in another country. There will be a lot of things for you to do. Take advantage of these opportunities! Take as many photos as you like! Make sure you do not overthink your mistakes. Move on by learning to laugh at yourself and your mistakes. 

Join Clubs

It is claimed that Indian students stay in groups, do not establish friends, and do not participate in campus events. This is not correct. Acknowledge that you have opportunities that many of your other friends do not. So, make the most of your university experience by participating in various events, clubs and sports.

Chat With Likeminded People

You are most likely living or studying abroad with people who are in the same situation and experiencing homesickness while studying abroad as you. Expressing your feelings is always preferable to keeping them bottled up inside, especially when you have the opportunity to talk with someone who understands exactly what you are going through.

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Allow Yourself to be Productive

Allow yourself to settle into a productive routine, with study goals for each day of the week. Writing it down in a planner is usually beneficial since you can see what you need to get done rather than sweeping it under the rug every day. Joining a study group or studying with a fellow classmate can help hold you accountable and provide you with someone to talk to (and share the misery with). Finally, a change of scenery when it comes to your study venues can make a huge impact on your productivity.

Journal Your Feelings

Many people say that writing things down helps them relax and deal with homesickness while studying abroad. If you have a problem or any feeling that you want to express (but do not necessarily want to convey to someone else), put it down in a journal and you might be amazed at how much better you feel. Another rewarding method that writing things down might reduce anxiety and tension is to make lists and check off chores as you complete them.

Go on Trips 

The best part about studying abroad is, of course, having so many new places to visit! Planning a trip to a new destination and counting down the days till you go is a fantastic way to distract yourself from being homesick while studying abroad. It's always nice to have something to look forward to, especially when a vacation is on the way.

Always Put Yourself First

Last but not least, taking care and prioritising yourself is the most important thing you can do while suffering from homesickness as an international student. Balancing your academics, social life, and healthy eating habits while also trying to travel and make the most of your study destination is easier said than done, and it is especially challenging if you are not used to doing it all on your own. 

First and foremost, you must make time for yourself, treat your body well, and understand that you may need to rest every now and again. Whether it is staying in on a Saturday night, preparing yourself a cooked breakfast in the mornings, or buying anything you have had your eye on, always prioritize yourself.

What NOT to Do During Homesickness while Studying Abroad?

Now that you know how to deal with homesickness while studying abroad as an international student in detail, let us also shed some light on what you should never do when you are homesick in a foreign country:

Don Not Stay in Your Room All the Time

While your room might be a safe haven throughout your college years, you don't want to spend all of your free time in it. It keeps you from getting out, meeting new people, and discovering new interests.

Do Not Go Home Every Weekend 

You miss your loved ones, and it is wonderful to see them as often as possible, especially if they live nearby. Going home every chance you get, though, may prevent you from creating a new life on campus. This can exacerbate your homesickness.

Do Not Ignore Your Feelings

It is very normal to miss home being an international student and living in an alienated environment and country. You're adjusting to a new environment and culture. However, ignoring those feelings may cause them to build up and make you feel worse. Talk to someone, write in a notebook, or express yourself artistically to try to process those emotions.

When Does Homesickness while Studying Abroad Become a More Serious Issue?

Homesickness while studying abroad can strike at any time. It could happen whether you are alone or with people. If you find yourself feeling homesick on a daily basis, even when you are engaged in other things, you should talk to someone.

It is natural to feel sad or anxious at times, especially when you are in a new setting. And some students are more sensitive to their emotions than others. If your emotions become too intense, they may interfere with other activities such as school or work.

Different people acclimate to college life at different rates. Some people may feel homesick for a weekend or a month. Some people never feel homesick. Many students' homesickness while studying abroad usually subsides after the first semester.

In a nutshell, do not allow homesickness to ruin your study abroad experience. Keep in mind that you are only there for a summer, semester, or year. It will be one of the quickest and most enjoyable times of your life. Do not leave with regrets because you were too busy sulking in your room to seize every new opportunity that presented itself. Remember that homesickness is a passing feeling, however your study abroad experiences and memories will last a lifetime. Enjoy the benefits of it!

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Is studying abroad stressful?

When studying abroad, it is natural to feel anxious or homesick from time to time. International students frequently experience anxiety as they adjust to a whole different lifestyle, academic challenges, financial difficulties, the constraints of combining work and study responsibilities, and relationship issues.

How do I not feel lonely when studying abroad?

Here are some tips through which you may not feel lonely or homesick when studying abroad:

  • Create new routines
  • Make new friends and acquaintances 
  • Keep yourself busy and engaged 
  • Stay in touch with your friends and family
  • Stop making comparisons
  • Set new goals and targets 
  • Do volunteer work or any part-time job

How do you overcome homesickness when studying abroad?

You can overcome homesickness when studying abroad by setting yourself in a routine and sticking to it for a long time; finding likeminded people to get along with; keeping yourself busy and planning things out; always being in touch with friends and family in your home country; journaling your day and your feelings and by prioritising yourself always. 

Why do international students feel homesick?

International students feel homesick because they find it difficult to understand diverse cultures as soon as they arrive overseas. Locals do not easily understand diverse cultures. As a result, overseas students are sometimes confused about diverse cultures. Overall, international students are prone to homesickness while studying abroad in a foreign or an alienated country. 

Is homesickness the biggest challenge of studying abroad?

Yes, it is somehow true that homesickness is one of the biggest challenges of studying abroad as an international student. Apart from dealing with homesickness while studying abroad, the language barrier will be your most difficult challenge too. Living in a nation where no one speaks your language might feel quite isolating. As a result, many students studying abroad may experience a sense of isolation and begin to feel homesick.

How long does homesickness last?

According to studies, homesickness can endure anywhere from three weeks to a year and four months. The duration and intensity of homesickness are greatly influenced by a number of factors, including personality, culture, time away from home, frequency of visits or contact with family, and cause for leaving.

Does homesickness get better?

Yes, fortunately, homesickness is usually a temporary problem that fades and gets better with time. According to the National Union of Students (NUS), while it affects 50-70 percent of students during their first few months at university, most students' symptoms subside by the third week.

How do I get over studying abroad with anxiety?

While you should stay in touch with people and involve them in your vacation, one of the easiest ways to feel more at ease is to do as the locals do; after all, travelling overseas is supposed to be a learning experience. Participate in student clubs, attempt to network with individuals, and form a group to do activities with.

Why do I get homesick so easily?

Some people who are homesick while studying abroad may be suffering from an adjustment disorder, which is a mental health problem that occurs when a person has difficulty coping with a change. Within three months of a traumatic occurrence, they are likely to feel anxiety, despair, or other undesirable emotions.

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