Do you remember the first time you spent the night away from your home? Were you feeling lonely? Were you thinking about your family or friends? If you're like most children, you most likely felt sad and depressed. It’s natural to feel homesick when you are not at home.
Becoming homesick is one of the biggest problems that an international exchange student faces. Often when a student signs up for foreign exchange programs, they’re thinking about independence and fun while being in a new country. Homesickness is very common and can show up at any time. It can be right after arrival, a few weeks later, around the holidays or even several months later. You might miss your family, friends, pets, house, or neighborhood. You can miss something as simple as your bed or the tree outside your window.
Here are some easy ways to recover from homesickness.
First, talk with someone, it can be your host family, share the things you miss about home. This is a great way to open up the cultural exchange that can be such a great part of this program. Second, keep yourself busy. Get involved in activities at school. Play a sport, or join a club.Third, give yourself time to adjust and get to know your new surroundings.
Finally, remember that being homesick is normal. It’s okay to be sad or miss things about home. You’re not alone! You have a great support unit around you to help you.
Phuad Karaev, an exchange student from Georgia said, “I have not felt homesick. When I got here it was a little bit hard because everything was new and everything seemed so unfamiliar to me. It's not that hard anymore. And if I feel homesick what will I do? Personally I made so many plans about what will I do if I feel homesick and I had so many ideas.But now I think that there is only one answer to this question: keeping busy and enjoying my time here. I am here for only 9 months so I prefer to be happy and to enjoy everything instead of being homesick and sad. In America there are lots of differences between my country and the US. When I walked out of the airport , I felt the difference. Everything is so different here. People often ask me : is it better or worse over here? My usual answer to this question is : it is not better or worse just different”
Another exchange student from Thailand, Pround Peewara said, “I’ve only been here for 2 weeks and it’s much harder being away from my family .When I feel homesick I just keep busy, play sports, talk to my host family and call my family in Thailand.” She said for her everything is very different. Language is the big problem to her because her english isn’t good,sometimes it make her feel homesick. She doesn’t want to do anything without crying.
Mariya Myahka, an exchange student from Ukraine said, “I haven’t felt homesick before and if I feel homesick my plan is talk. Obey. Participate. Help. Affection. Trust. (TOP HAT) In the U.S. the biggest difference that I notice is the difference in culture and people.”
Remember that your visit will only be for a certain time. After the set period, you will be back on a plane headed home. If you were to leave early, you’d never experience the majority of things that you’ll be able to experience if you are to stay.
The thing to remember about this problem is that it passes. As long as you acknowledge your feelings and set up contact with home, you’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy your stay in a foreign country.