How to Deal with Homesickness while Studying Abroad
Camille, Florence, Fall 2018
November 20, 2018

Before I left for my semester abroad my home school warned me about the homesickness and culture shock, but to be honest I didn’t really believe them. I thought, “There’s no way this could happen to me.” Boy was I wrong.  It is something everyone goes through while abroad, which is a good and bad thing. The bad part is you too will experience it. The good part is every other person that has studied abroad has gotten through it, and so will you.

You might be worried right before you study abroad, but don’t be! It will be the best experience of your life!

I had a few rough weeks while studying abroad, wondering why I chose to move across the world for a semester when my entire life was home going on without me. It wasn’t until I talked to one of my roommates did I realize how I was feeling was a normal response. She too was having FOMO, missing her dog, friends and family. We decided we had to do something to stop making us feel this way, after all we’re in Italy, we shouldn’t be feeling sad! So here are some things we found that made us feel better and I hope they work for you too.

 

Try to make friends while abroad. They will feel the same way you do and help take your mind off of how you’re feeling!

Tips to Prevent Homesickness:

Always stay busy. Don’t spend hours sitting on your phone on Instagram or Snapchat seeing what your friends are doing back in the States. Staying in contact is one thing, but constantly wishing you were with them is another. There is always something that needs to be done, and if there isn’t go explore your city!

Try to eat foods you would normally eat at home! This will help you feel a little at home in a foreign country!

Keep in mind it might look like your friends at home are having fun, but remember do they get to travel the world every weekend like you? No, so don’t wish you were there too much.

Explore your city as much as you can! This will take your mind off of it!

Stay social. Go shopping, go out to eat, play sports, get involved. This is the best way I found that helped with my homesickness. The more social you are, the better.

Always look forward to what’s ahead. That’s what really kept me going. Knowing that I was going to be in Amsterdam one weekend and Morocco the next, got me through the rough patches.

It also doesn’t hurt to have family visit you! It’s always nice to have a little reminder of home while you’re abroad!

The worst thing you can do is lay in bed and be upset everyday. Not everyone gets to spend a semester abroad, so take advantage of it! Share how you are feeling with your roommates, friends advisors and family. You never know, you might get a care package or even a visit out of it!
Don’t let homesickness ruin your life abroad. Remember that you are only abroad for a summer, semester or year. It will be one of the quickest time of your life, and the most fun. This homesick feeling will only last a few weeks, but the friends and memories you made abroad will last a lifetime! So enjoy it while it lasts!

Camille is a fall 2018 SAI Florence student from University of Tennessee Knoxville.

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About SAI

SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.