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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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?