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How to Combat Homesickness While Studying Abroad

Graphics and Words by Caitlin Chuah

Similar to Thanos, homesickness is inevitable. New country, new food, new people…these factors all play a role in stirring up a bit of anxiety and melancholy. Yes, studying abroad will bring you loads of fun and adventure, but once the excitement of being abroad dies down and your classes begin, it’s quite normal for you to miss home and its comforts. Instead of trying to block it out entirely, it’s better to come up with tactics to combat this new emotion.

Make a new home

Whether you’re living in a dorm or renting out a place, find ways to make your living quarters cosy and inviting. Hang up some fairy lights, attach polaroid photos of your favourite memories onto your wall or buy some scented candles or air fresheners that you normally use back home. You could even bring some trinkets from home to give you some comfort, such as your favourite bedding or teddy bear. (I’m 20 and still sleep with all 10 of my soft toys, so no judgement here!)

homesickness artwork 1 min

Go out and explore

Replace your negative emotions with happy ones by going out and exploring the city! Grab this opportunity to see and do as many new things as you can. Go window-shopping at the nearest mall, food-hunting at the coolest cafes or even take a relaxing stroll at the park. Make it a mission to create exciting memories that will leave you missing your time abroad when you finally return home.

homesickness artwork 2 min

Keep yourself busy

University itself will keep you on your toes, so this is not a hard one to do. You could get a part-time job on the weekends, which will not only keep you busy, but allow you save up some money! (You could plan a trip with your friends using the money you’ve earned 😉) Another idea is to get involved in extracurricular activities. Joining a club or society will also allow you meet new friends with similar interests.

homesickness artwork 3 min

Keep in touch with home

WhatsApp, Zoom, Instagram and Facebook all exist for a reason. Use technology to close the distance gap between your family and friends. Keeping in touch with your community back home will give you a sense of security and allow you to feel more involved in their lives. However, make it a point not to contact them TOO much, as that can make you feel even more homesick. Your friends and family will still be waiting for you back home either way, so try to focus on the here and now at uni.

homesickness artwork 4 min

Ask for help

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. University counsellors and even lecturers are more than happy to grant you some advice or lend a helping hand. Additionally, there is likely to be a whole community of international students at your university who is also going through the same struggles. By making friends with some of them, you can support each other during this difficult time. This will help banish any feelings of loneliness and aid you in conquering your homesickness. 

homesickness artwork 5 min

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