Going to university is already a big adventure, and moving abroad adds another element of excitement to the whole thing. As with every adventure, there will be some challenges along the way, but that’s what keeps things interesting. Homesickness is one of those challenges, and coping with it can be difficult when you find yourself in a new country. To help you along the way, here are our top tips for combating homesickness when studying abroad.
Keeping yourself busy can really make a difference when it comes to coping with homesickness because it’s something that usually creeps in when you’re bored or on your own. To combat this, immerse yourself in the local culture and explore the local area so that you won’t have time to miss home.
Getting involved in different activities will also help you to settle into your new home; once you do get comfortable, you might find yourself a little bit less homesick. If you’re a frequent sufferer of FOMO then this will be the ideal thing to keep you occupied, because there will be plenty of activities and events to get involved with.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Homesickness is something that affects a lot of students living away from home, and if you’re an international student it’s even more likely that you’ll feel it at some point. The important thing to keep in mind is that it’s perfectly natural, and you shouldn’t be afraid of asking for help if it’s affecting your life.
Universities have fantastic student support networks in place, and they will be able to help you by offering you the chance to talk through your worries. There’s no shame in asking for help, so don’t suffer in silence. With a diverse population of international students, German universities are well prepared to offer you help should you need it.
Bring Some Home Comforts
There’s nothing better than having some home comforts to soothe your worries, so don’t forget to pack a few items with sentimental value, and ask your mum to write down recipes for your favourite home-cooked meals. Tucking into your favourite meal might not be the same when you have to make it yourself, but it will be a close second.
If you’re feeling nervous about bringing along your favourite stuffed animal, or the jumper your grandma knitted you years ago, just remember that everyone else will have their own little home comforts too – and ultimately, if it makes you feel comfortable, there is no shame in bringing it along.
Don’t Hole Up in Your Room
Everyone likes to hide away in their room every now and then, curled up with a good book or binge-watching their favourite series, but try not to spend too much time in the comfort of your room. It may seem like your safe space while you’re getting used to a new environment, but the more you withdraw yourself from everyone, the more difficult you’ll find it to settle in. If you need time to be alone, you should try going for a walk and exploring the local sights, or familiarising yourself with the campus library.
Spending time in your room will only reinforce the loneliness you might already be feeling, so don’t make a habit of it.
Make Yourself at Home
One of the main reasons that you’re feeling homesick is probably because you’ve left behind everything that you were familiar with – your bedroom, your hometown, and everyone you know. To tackle homesickness, work on making your new accommodation your home too – or at least your home away from home. Decorate it as you would do to your bedroom at home, keep up with some of your favourite shows by watching them online, and try and settle into a routine.
Making your place your own isn’t all there is to it, though – and you should also build yourself a little (or large!) network of friends, in the same way you would do back home. Making friends with the locals and fellow international students will give you a diverse group of friends that will help you feel settled and give you a chance to talk to others who understand what you’re going through.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Sure, being comfortable is important, but you should also step out of your comfort zone every once in a while. After all, you chose to study abroad for a reason, and it was probably because of how different it was from what you knew at home. So, embrace this and remember how excited you felt when you first arrived.
By deciding to move abroad for university, you’ve already proved that you’re not afraid to step out of your comfort zone, and things may seem a bit scary now, but studying overseas is an adventure, so make the most of it.
Being an international student has its ups and downs, so let us here at Uninest take care of your accommodation for you, so that you can focus on the important things like exploring the city and getting to your lectures on time. To make the most of your time in Germany, download the top 10 student apps to help make your life a little easier.