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Advice for StudentsLiving away from homeSettling inStudent Life

How I dealt with homesickness as an international student

8 June 2023

Being an international student has its own ups and downs. There is no one more excited than us to discover new cultures and new places, meeting new people and living on our own. That is exactly what makes our experience so unique and memorable.

However, there are also small downsides to being in an entirely new place, starting a life from scratch. One of them is being homesick no matter how hard you try not to be. At least in my case, I tried my best to not think of my home too much so as to avoid being homesick. It still got to me sometimes though and that is when I learnt how to deal with it.

The very first thing to remember is that never are you alone in this boat. All and every international student has been through the pain of not being enveloped with that feeling of being home, in a familiar space. It is important to remember this because that is going to be a huge help to you! You need to know that however bad you think that feeling is, you have got people to talk to or hang out with because they understand that emotion. They can not only help you out by validating your feelings but also make you feel less lonely which is a huge factor in making you feel at home. I did exactly this by surrounding myself with people from all over the world and by having a heart-to-heart with them a few times.
Another thing that immensely helped me was to talk to the residence life assistants about how I was feeling and going to the events that were specifically organised for either International students or Indian students (like Bollywood movie screenings, Holi Celebration and Indian snack evenings). Taking these steps reduced my feeling of “out of place” a lot. It made me realise that people have got my back. You can also speak to University counsellors and student representatives who are there to guide you through this and have the experience needed to do that. These services are all free and can help you out if you simply ask for it.

Moreover, I ensured that I never felt disconnected with my family and my friends back home. This was a crucial step that I took by arranging routine calls and virtual events like watching a movie together. I made sure that I always felt connected thanks to video calls and check-ups. Ask them about their lives and do not let yourself feel like you don’t have a way of talking to them. Of course, there will be some days when you will feel alone because your family is celebrating a festival together or because your friends are meeting up and you aren’t there but you need to remember that there is a reason you have made that sacrifice. This will keep you going and keep you focused on your final goal. I personally also put up images of my family and friends to ensure that I was reminded of our good memories constantly and could smile at the pics.

There are thus a lot of ways to deal with homesickness and most of these steps are simple ones.