During my three weeks abroad, I was always…well…thinking about my family and loved ones back home. When you’re in a place that’s unfamiliar, with people you don’t know, it’s only natural to feel a bit homesick at times. The most important thing, however, is to deal with this emotion so it doesn’t end up ruining your entire experience abroad.
Here are five simple, yet effective things I did to help me get through my time away from home.
Snail mail is still a thing…a good thing.
When you are studying abroad, you won’t necessarily have cell service to make a phone call home, and if you do, the costs can be outrageous (talk to your provider first before you go abroad). In my case it was $1 per minute…no thank you! Instead, take some time out of your day to write your family letters and remind them how much you appreciate them. Not only will this give you a moment to breathe and get your thoughts out, but the anticipation of getting a response is actually pretty exciting! Hand written notes always hold a special meaning, but if you can’t get on board the snail mail train, email works just as well.
Facebook is great.
I used Facebook to constantly update everyone with what I was doing while studying abroad. Posts and photos showing my daily regiment was a great way to share my experiences with others. Friends and family could stay up to date with my travels and connect with me on my adventures through comments and messages.
FaceTime is even better.
One of the best ways to deal with homesickness is by being able to keep in contact with your loved ones, face to face. If you have a smart phone that connects to the internet, make sure you take advantage of FaceTime. While phone calls are great for staying in touch, actually seeing the person’s face makes it so much better – you almost feel as if they are right there in the room with you! However, make sure your family knows how to use it (cough, parents, cough) so you can actually see them!
There’s an app for that.
A surprisingly great thing that helped me through my homesickness was Snapchat. Not only did the app allow me to see my friends’ faces but the silly videos constantly kept me in good spirit. If I didn’t have time for a full-on conversation, Snapchat allowed me to hear snippets of my friends’ days and vice versa!
When in doubt, take to Pinterest! I’m sure you have seen plenty of posters, photo collages and videos that people have made for their loved ones. Craft up your own version of one of these projects for you to bring back for your friends and family as a surprise. Be sure to include bits and pieces of the place you are studying abroad. The final product will make for an awesome souvenir, plus focusing on the project will help keep your mind off how much you miss them!
I know how hard it can be to stay in touch with your family and friends while studying abroad, but with a few simple steps you can effectively deal with your homesickness and fully focus on enjoying your abroad adventure!
Ellary is a Biology student who enjoys sports, the great outdoors and traveling.