Remedies for homesickness

Taking a leap at Haeundae Beach in Busan.

Taking a leap at Haeundae Beach in Busan.

Homesickness. For the past two months, since coming to South Korea, I have been hit with homesickness. A feeling and state of mind that I have no remedies for. I miss a country with laws that I understood and felt comfortable in. I miss family and friends. I miss people with relationships that I have already built. So for future study abroad folks and international students who miss home, here was what I did to help cope with my homesickness:

  1. Talk with loved ones.

It helped a lot for me to video chat with people who cared about me. Everyone’s words gave me strength to move forward, and I cannot be more thankful for it. I will always remember my early morning conversation for a mentor who reminded me who I was and what I stood for. I was reminded that family will always be there for me when I return. Lastly, my conversations from friends and families reminded me of the privilege I have in being here. Not everyone gets a chance to study abroad.

Making a stop at the Samsung Museum.

Making a stop at the Samsung Museum.

  1. Give yourself space.

Feeling homesick is common. In fact, if you haven’t experienced homesickness yet, consider yourself fortunate. You have found the place for you. But for others, I do not see the harm in giving yourself space from everyone else. Take a breather for the afternoon. Sit back and do what makes you happy, and if that means sitting down and binging on some American TV shows, by all means, do it. I found it comforting to go back to my dorm instead of partaking in social events after class. It gave me a mental break for the day.

  1. Go out! Take a chance.

Although it was easy for me to stay in the comfort zone of my own room, it did not do me any good (nor any harm). Once a week, I went out with a friend to explore parts of Seoul. This forced me to get out of my comfort zone and it was the second best thing I did to tackle homesickness. Seeing other parts of Korea was so much fun. Eventually, I even forgot about missing home and started to look forward to my next adventures. Exploring gave me new environments to reflect on myself and where I was heading in life.

Watching a pansori performance in Mungyeong Village.

I leave with advice from my good friend, Maria Lopez ‘16 who said, “You’ll be home sooner than you think… you will have a great experience and it’s an experience that not everyone gets in their lives. Stay positive my dear and you’ll be back sooner than you think.”

So I ask the fellow international students, as well as other study abroad students (past or present), what have you done to help remedy your feelings of homesickness?

Petting a sheep at the Sheep Cafe in Hongdae.

Petting a sheep at the Sheep Cafe in Hongdae.

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