15 Ways to Overcome Homesickness While Studying Abroad

Table of Contents

How to Overcome Homesickness While Studying Abroad- Everything worth having comes with a cost worth paying. Tuition fees are just one of the things you pay for studying abroad. There’s more to it, socially and emotionally. One such challenge is homesickness. 

How to Overcome Homesickness While Studying Abroad

The Phase of Homesickness

Most international students feel homesick, irrespective of how excited they initially were to go abroad to study. This is a usual phase of cultural shock one faces when moving abroad for an extended period. 

Initially, everything is flowery when you are excited to discover new things in a foreign land. Eventually, reality hits, and you start seeing the practical difficulties as you settle down. 

The frustration grows as you lack emotional support during the first few days of moving abroad. And that is the onset of homesickness!

This, too, is just a phase but a more extended phase. How long is it?

It depends on how quickly and how well you cope with the new environment as you start feeling at home again.

Homesickness can be avoided in some cases. Things might get easier if you have your friends or other company in the host country. How you handle Homesickness can make you or break you; it can, however, be dealt with well through the right habits and mindset. So, now let’s learn ways to overcome homesickness while studying abroad.

Tips to deal with homesickness while studying abroad

  1. Stay connected
  2. Make a small, cosy home
  3. Make a mental note
  4. Prioritise fitness
  5. Have a daily routine.
  6. Connect with like-minded people.
  7. Embrace new experiences
  8. Make some travel plans
  9. Indulge in hobbies
  10. Practice self-care
  11. Positive self-talk
  12. Take a break from social media
  13. Get involved in campus activities
  14. Stay occupied
  15. Seek help

Let’s understand all the tips in detail.

1. Stay connected 

Staying connected with family is more important when living abroad than living together. Have a calling routine, preferably video calling at least twice or thrice a week, since looking at each other makes you feel connected.

Stay updated with the how-abouts back at home, and also update them about yours. After a long day of rubbing shoulders with strangers, it feels good to talk to the loved ones at the end of the day. 

Leave the stress of the day behind and have a good time while talking to your family and friends over the phone so that you get an escape from being a homesick student studying abroad.  

2. Make a small, cosy home

Have a small corner dedicated to placing things that make you feel good, like your family photo, your favourite pillow, or a souvenir, where you can sit and do your favourite things. It could be your couch or even your study table. 

If it is not possible to find such a corner at your accommodation, make one out of your dorm or room. Go for a walk around your neighbourhood and explore a little. You can find a place that feels good to you; it could be a bench in a park, a particular table in a cafe, a spot in the library, or just a street. 

Find a place that puts you in peace a little. Sometimes, places do a little magic that people might not be able to do. Find that comfort space to get away from homesickness.

3. Mental note

Another concern about moving abroad is that you worry about leaving your family by themselves to handle things on their own when you are away. 

But in reality, that is not the case; you must look at the big picture of the small period of your separation from the family. You are still committed to providing for your family irrespective of the distance, which is way better than staying closer and stuck in a smaller phase. 

Take this as a new chapter filled with a world of experiences and learnings. You have been living a large part of your life with your family, now, see this as an opportunity to stay self-dependent and channel all the emotions towards striving towards your goal, without any distractions. 

Look at the bigger picture in your career, lifestyle and experiences in the long term. Staying back at home could have saved you from feeling homesick, but moving abroad has opened the gates to much bigger possibilities.

4. Prioritise fitness

Staying away from family in a foreign land and feeling homesick can be painful, but what better way to indulge in fitness? Distract yourself from homesickness and channel all that pain into working out or going for a run. You can expect a positive outcome at least from it. 

When homesick, lying on the couch all day long, grieving or being upset will only make things worse. Instead, get involved in a physical activity like organising your room, walking or hitting the gym. 

By having a lifestyle prioritising your mental and physical fitness, you are more likely to overcome homesickness easily and start seeing the brighter side of life soon.  

5. Have a daily routine

Having a daily routine puts your life in order. It makes life easier, and when things are in order, you tend to feel less homesick. 

As discussed above, you feel homesick when you start feeling the frustration of not having things in order, when you feel a mismatch between the ideas/practices you have had all your life and the new reality. 

By cultivating a healthy routine, you are bridging that gap, and slowly, everything will start falling into place. Having a routine is a wide step closer to getting used to the new reality and away from homesickness as you start accepting the new reality and becoming self-reliant. In this way, you will be able to overcome homesickness.

6. Connect with like-minded people

You sure have been in a bad state in life and felt immediately better when you realised you are not the only one in that misery, right? 

Ah, that sign of subtle relief!

Homesickness is not an exception. But it just does not have to stop there at feeding each other’s misery. You can become each other’s company to explore new places, find topics to discuss, exchange ideas, and so much more. 

Homesickness hits because of the absence of a good company that can make you feel at home. Connecting with like-minded people from common online communities, neighbours, classmates, or workmates can make navigating life more effortless.  Your new people will become new family and you can overcome homesickness.

7. Embrace new experiences

You will probably feel homesick because everything is new: the people, food, culture, experiences and everything around you. As long as you are mentally stuck to your memories and romanticise your old life back at home, you will not be able to handle homesickness. 

Instead, be open to new experiences, stay curious about the local culture, say yes to trying new food, and get out of your prejudice to meet new people. 

It is comfortable not to try and stay in misery, but just one mindset shift can take you to new surprises that your journey ahead holds. Eventually, you’ll start finding comfort in new things and not be homesick.

8. Make some travel plans

Who doesn’t love travelling, right? Make small travel plans with your new friends, or just hop on the train and visit a new place impromptu. 

Sometimes, you are more likely to get stuck in bed and replay the memories. But that will only make things worse. Always know that it is your own push that will get you out of homesickness. 

So go out and look around. It will change the air, even if it is just a picnic by the countryside. It is nice to have a change in environment. Explore new places, talk to the locals, click a few pictures and make new memories. Traveling new places will make you feel better and you will be able to overcome homesickness.

Aren’t all these a part of the journey that makes life beautiful? 

9. Indulge in hobbies

When was the last time you did something just for the joy of doing it? No side hustle, no monetisation, not for a grade but just as a hobby? 

Restart doing something that you used to do but haven’t been able to do recently, like painting, making those groovy moves, acting in front of the mirror, etc. Do all that and record yourself doing it.

Otherwise, discover something new, just a skill to build your creativity and increase your employability. Join a friend in his/her pottery class and plant a new house plant. Put your heart into whatever you do. Do something you love, or explore and keep trying new things until you find something you can put your heart into. 

In the course of finding something you enjoy or doing something you enjoy, your homesickness will be long gone!

10. Practice self-care 

Practising self-care is very important when you are away from home. It is common to ignore yourself, and there is no one else to take care of you. 

Take things on your own, take care of yourself, and indulge in skin care routines; even if they are just simple ones, just do them; trust me, they are therapeutic. 

You deserve a little pampering when you are studying abroad, dealing with so many deadlines while still feeling homesick. 

Buy a few face masks and apply them once in a while, dip your feet in warm water, grab your favourite snack, sit cosy and give yourself some time to relax. 

You don’t always need someone else to care for you; remind yourself to take care of yourself. 

11. Positive Self-Talk 

What you think or tell yourself (self-talk) influences what you feel. Positive and creative self-talk is a means of self-care as well. 

Go easy on yourself, spend time with yourself, console yourself, motivate yourself, and pick yourself up as you would your best friend. 

Here are a few things to tell yourself when you feel homesick.

  • Just because I’m alone now doesn’t mean I’ll always be alone.
  • Although I could be with my friends/family at home tonight, being here in my grinding phase is okay.
  • Being lonely sometimes is okay. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with me. I can experience loneliness and channel it to grow creatively 
  • Everybody, even the most fun students, gets lonely at times.
  • I don’t like being rejected, but it won’t destroy me.
  • There are people who care about me. (list them in your mind)
  • I care about myself. I am here for myself, which is a pretty good company, some of the best!
  • Therefore, helping in overcome homesickness

12. Take a break from social media

Social media can make you or break you. In tough times when you are away from friends and family and feeling homesick, watching your friends have fun without you can be disheartening.

Know that your loved ones do miss you, but it is more common to post good times on social media than the bad times. 

Life goes on, and they will miss you like how you miss them, but that does not mean there won’t be any good times when they have fun, and that’s okay, you can go out and have fun as well. 

If the posts of your friends back home seem to bother you, take a break from social media. That will help you cope with your situation easily when social media does not pull you back into the memory lane and you can overcome homesickness.

13. Get involved in campus activities

Campus activities are one way to keep yourself occupied with productive work. You will get to network with a lot of new people and learn new things, and it will take you away from getting sunk in homesickness.

After all, you are there to study and gain knowledge related to your domain; focus on that. Involving in campus activities can get you exactly that. 

You see people become workaholics or alcoholics after a heartbreak, it all depends on how your channel your distraction. 

14.  Stay occupied

The ultimate goal of all the hobbies, travelling and checking out new experiences is to keep yourself busy and distracted in a fun way. 

Grab a book, write, cook for yourself and your friends, have a routine, hit the gym, and take care of your physical and mental health. 

15. Seek support

After trying all the possible ways to handle homesickness, if you are still stuck feeling homesick and unable to drag yourself out of the situation, ask for help.

Your mental and physical well-being is your priority; everything else comes after that. Talk to your mentor or student counsellor at your university. 

The awareness around the topic is increasing.Unaddressed stress can lead to depression, which, in turn, only worsens the situation. If you’re unable to help yourself, then seek help outside. 

Homesickness is an inevitable phase of adjusting to a new life while studying abroad. It is just a phase; the more open you are to new environments and experiences, the quicker you will heal from homesickness.

Always remember that life goes on, and you cannot remain stuck to any place or person; look at the bright side filled with bigger opportunities waiting for you to embrace. 

If you are finding it very hard to tackle your homesickness, try online platforms like Calm, Headspace and Talkspace, which will help you with guided meditations or therapies. 

Therefore, using these ways and tips you will be able to overcome homesickness and enjoy your journey of study abroad.

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Jaipreet Kaur

I've had the opportunity to learn more about the educational systems of many various countries thanks to my 13 years of experience in this subject. This involves coordinating applicants, keeping in touch with students, answering their inquiries, and counselling them about studying abroad.

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