I have never been one to get homesick… until I moved to Europe for four months. My entire experience has been amazing and unforgettable but I also get periods of time where I get horribly homesick to the point where I can’t help but cry and talk to my family on FaceTime for multiple hours a few days a week. Being homesick is not fun, at all; I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. The worst part is that I know that I’m living in an amazing city in Europe and should be spending all my time exploring and taking full advantage of the experience in front of me instead of crying in my bed at one in afternoon. What I’ve realized is that I can’t suppress my feelings of missing home; I just have to push through it. It’s even worse when I’m in a different country for the weekend and I’m so thankful to be there but I also just want to be home cuddling with my dog, watching Netflix, and eating my mom’s cooking. I often feel guilty and ungrateful but I can’t help that I feel the way I do.
So these three things are my pieces of advice to anyone studying abroad who is dealing with serious homesickness:
- Don’t Lay Around: The more you lay around in your apartment the more time you have to think about how much you miss home which just makes your feelings of homesickness that much greater. Get out, move around, go explore a new part of the city you’re living in, try a new activity, or go to a new restaurant! Try to keep your mind busy!
- Take a break from traveling: For me, every time I traveled to a new country for the weekend I only got more homesick. I’m not saying you shouldn’t travel at all, but don’t feel guilty for staying home instead of going to Vienna and Berlin one weekend. The most important thing is your mental health and if the idea of traveling is not appealing then don’t do it! Plus it gives you more time in the city your living in, which really does become your home away from home.
- Think about the good: Every time I start to get homesick I try to think of something good instead of how much I miss home. I try to think about an upcoming event that I’m excited for like a boat cruise around Prague, or my plans to go to a new restaurant after class on Thursday. If you don’t have an event to look forward to, plan one! It can be as simple as making your favorite meal that night for dinner. When in doubt, you can always focus on school, though it’s not the most exciting thing to focus on it is why you’re abroad in the first place and it lets you forget that you’re so far from home for a while.
I hope that nobody studying abroad has to experience homesickness the way I have, but in case you do I hope this helps you get through the bad days and enjoy the good ones!