During my first week in Angers, I was spoke with a woman named Sue who coordinated study abroad for the University of Oregon, and she mentioned to me that homesickness usually hits everyone around week 3 or 4. That absolutely baffled me! How could anyone get homesick in such a beautiful place while they are having the time of their life? Well guess what happened to me on week 3?
Nearly everyone is bound to experience homesick to some degree while abroad, and it seemed to hit me harder than most. During my third week in Angers, I was so homesick and upset that it felt nearly impossible to go to class. I called my dad crying every night (and sometimes several times a day) for a week. I was so miserable that I even looked at plane flights back home. However, it is now the beginning of week 5 for me in Angers, and I’m still here. Not only am I here, I WANT to be here.
Homesickness can be difficult to cope with. You get bombarded with social media posts every Saturday of friends tailgating in the Grove, and you might miss a holiday such as Halloween or Thanksgiving that is normally a special time for you and your family. Additionally, you may begin to think it’s silly for you to be feeling like you’re missing out on events back home because you have the opportunity of a lifetime right now to study abroad. However, that doesn’t make your homesickness any less justified. It’s okay and it’s normal to be homesick!
When you start feeling homesick though, don’t sink into that feeling. Instead, find a way to cope and take your mind off it. Here’s a list of ways (many of which I used) to cope with being homesick:
- Find someone who can be there to talk to you at any hour of the day when things get rough. Not every has someone in there life who can do this for them, but if you do, lean on them for support. My dad answered my facetime calls at any hour, and without his support, getting through my homesickness would have been a lot more difficult. So find a friend, mother, brother, or whoever and call them when you’re having a rough day.
- Go eat some American food! Sometimes a piece of home can make you feel a little better. When I was homesick, I found a place that served American style hotdogs with fries and a coke. It doesn’t get more American than that! After eating there, I didn’t feel great, but I had a little more pep in my step.
- Don’t stay inside! I know all you want to do when you’re homesick is lay in bed and watch The Office on Netflix, but trust me, you’re only going to feel worse. Get up and go outside. Go to a pub and grab a beer or browse through some clothing stores for an hour. You’ll be surprised how much it lifts your mood!
- Stay off social media for a little while. Seeing Instagram pics of your friends out at baseball games is only going to bring back those feelings of homesickness.
- Finally, if it becomes really bad and is impeding your everyday life, go talk to someone at your program. You’re not the first college student to be homesick and you won’t be the last. They can help you get through it and offer additional assistance if needed.
Just remember even though it doesn’t feel like it now, it WILL pass, and you will be enjoying yourself again before you know it.