We are never ever getting back together!
My trip on the plane was an exciting experience. I kept staring at the clouds beneath me and daydreaming of all the wonderful things waiting for me in America. The girl next to me, who was also traveling as an international student, was crying. “Could she be homesick already?” I wondered.
Over the course of the first year in college, I found myself often thinking about my homeland. There were times when I felt frustrated and angry for not being able to see my mom for her birthday, or spend some quality time with my family. Homesickness is like an old, troubled boyfriend. He keeps appearing and stirring some buried emotions. However, we have no bright future together.
I noticed that many people think that homesickness has to do something with a person missing their home. I disagree. Homesickness is much more than missing the comfort of a house. Homesickness has to do with the feelings of being loved, accepted and appreciated. For example, in their native country, students are surrounded with their best friends, families to support them no matter what and communities to make them feel safe. On the other hand, in a foreign county, students live with their host families, they have no close friends and some might even struggle to find a way to the nearest grocery store. Once these two worlds are compared things look quite depressing.
Here are some suggestions to help you finally say goodbye to homesickness:
- Start exploring the area. –Do not just sit in your room and talk to people on Skype. You could do that at home as well. Make a plan to visit some cool place every week and stick to it. Bring a camera and take photos. Your friends on Facebook will be thrilled to see you and would wish to be in your shoes.
- Sign up for a college club. – There is no better way to meet new friends who share the same interests, but to sign up for a college club. It can be anything that you feel passionate about. College clubs do many events and promotions, so you will feel helpful and appreciated.
- Join a sports team.-If you like to play sports, joining a sports team is easy as eating a pie. You do not have to stress about being the best. There are many sports out there which are less competitive. On the other hand, if you are passionate about music, how about joining a band? Or singing at your local church?
- Look for place to volunteer. – It might sound unusual, but people who are volunteers tend to be welcoming and caring. They will spare their time to hear your story. While volunteering you will be interacting with the members of your new community.
- Try new foods. American culture is rich. There are all kinds of foods to choose from. Enjoy some Greek, Portuguese, Chinese or Indian food. Keep your mind open and your stomach full.
- Choose your friends wisely. – You might think, “What this has to do with being homesick?” But, as a foreigner, it is very important for you to select your friends carefully. Never pressure yourself to hang out with people who are troublemakers. Unhealthy friendships will only bring you even more problems.