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Home-sickness when abroad

In the run-up to catching the plane that will take you to a new life of academic study overseas, you could be bursting with excitement. However, there is a risk that, once you have moved into your new, temporary residence, you start longing for home and its familiarity.

Would that be a sign that you made a mistake by moving away? Not necessarily – you could just be that common thing, a student who is home-sick. Here are ways of overcoming such despondency.

Surround yourself with familiar items

When packing your luggage for the initial trip away, include many items that remind you of life in your native environment. These could include books that have long sat on your home bookshelf, familiar bed sheets, and photos of your friends and family.

The ultimate objective here is to place all of these prized possessions in your new accommodation to help yourself to smooth the transition and so manage it more easily.

Keep yourself busy, busy, busy

If you find yourself looking mournfully at Facebook and Instagram photos of your friends back in your home country, stop it and turn your attention to things that need to be done where you are.

Whether it’s something as simple and routine as buying new supplies from the local shop or as ambitious as a writing a new novel, there’s always something that can keep your mind occupied in a productive – not depressing – way.

Resist always seeing the grass as greener

The phrase “the grass is always greener on the other side” has particular relevance to home-sick people. Yes, you might feel sad in your new country, but recall how excited you were when first preparing to both move there and leave what you deemed a boring hometown behind.

When at a physical distance from your old place, you could too easily garner a utopian perception of it. Your friends probably envy the opportunities that are waiting for you in your new environs!

Watch out for exciting local opportunities coming up

When you are studying abroad and home-sick, your course is far from the only reason to embrace where you now live. Moving to a new place has probably unlocked many exciting opportunities which felt desperately scarce where you once lived.

This can be especially the case when you are a student in London, where there are always exciting cultural events scheduled and new eating and drinking establishments to try.

Share your worries with other people

These people could include fellow students, a counsellor at your university or, if you move into homestay accommodation, the host family with which you live. If you carefully choose from various homestays right from the start, this could help to prevent anguish setting in later.

Don’t allow yourself to feel upset day after day. After all, your stay abroad will only last a summer, term or year – and, if you don’t make the most of the opportunities abroad, you could be left with regrets once you have returned home.

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