From Homesick to Home Away: Coping Strategies for International Students

From Homesick to Home Away: Coping Strategies for International Students

Choosing to go to college or university in a foreign country can be an extraordinary, life-changing, and transformative experience. Studying abroad offers the opportunity to immerse oneself in a new culture, learn a new language, and develop invaluable connections and life skills that will stand you in good stead for years to come.

However, moving to another country and adjusting to life away from the security of home can be a significant challenge at any age, particularly for younger people. Living somewhere new, where you don’t know anyone, and potentially don’t speak the language well, can be disorientating, challenging, and lonely.

While homesickness, isolation, and feelings of cultural shock are common among overseas students, particularly at the beginning of their time abroad, there are plenty of strategies to help you cope, and turn feelings of loneliness into a sense of belonging and comfort.

So if you are thinking that Panama could be a great place to move for your education, or you like the look of the grand universities of Italy or France, read on. The advice below will help give you the tools you need to make your overseas study adventure a truly amazing experience.

Stay Connected

Stay Connected

One of the best and easiest ways to cope with feelings of loneliness and disconnection as an international student is to keep strong links and connections with friends and family back home.

This can range from simple things like regular video calls or group chats to something more involved like taking advantage of cruise deals for an impromptu trip back home. Scheduling regular check-ins with the most important people in your life is a great way to avoid feeling homesick, and you should always reach out for support if you find yourself lonely or isolated.

Build a Support System

One of the tricky elements of moving abroad to study is the lack of existing support networks. At home your life is a web of interlinked systems, including friends, family, fellow students, and acquaintances, as well as a society and system that is familiar and that you know how to navigate without thinking. Abroad you will need to build new support networks from scratch.

Luckily, this is not a hard task, as there will be plenty of other international students in the same situation as you, as well as other local students looking to make new friends. Teachers and faculty members are also an important part of any support system. Don’t be afraid to be proactive in this, by joining clubs and organizations and taking part in activities and events.

Embrace Cultural Exchange

Embrace Cultural Exchange

One of the most important benefits of going to college overseas is the chance to immerse yourself in a new culture, to learn about the place you are studying, and to experience a whole new set of perspectives, backgrounds, and opinions.

Embracing this cultural exchange allows you to get outside of your bubble and get a deeper understanding of other cultures and customs, as well as making you feel far more comfortable in foreign or unfamiliar surroundings. Be bold as you try new things and explore new experiences, from local traditions and unusual cuisine to events and activities in your chosen destination. It is an excellent chance to do things you otherwise might never have the opportunity to do and to truly live like a local in a foreign city.

While studying abroad can be difficult, you don’t have to resign yourself to feeling homesick or lonely. Embrace the chance to make new friends, stay in touch with people back home, and enjoy the amazing opportunities that the experience brings!


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