Homesickness: What it is, and How to Overcome it
Homesickness hits us all now and then. Do you have strong strategies to handle it?
Studying overseas is an exciting yet daunting experience. Every year, international students are accepted into post-secondary institutions from all across the globe.
Students experience a rush of excitement anticipating a new adventure ahead—travelling to a new country, experiencing a different culture, and embarking on attaining an education at reputable academic institutions. Most often, students lose themselves in the euphoria and don't anticipate the adjustment and struggles related to being in a new place. Once they arrive in the new country and new place they become homesick—the consistent yearning for the familiar, friends, family and even granny's cooking!
Transitioning to post-secondary is a big task for any student. Many students leave home, some for the first time. It demands that individuals leave behind their previous relationships and identities to establish who they are in the new environment. Homesickness can affect anybody—whether you're a domestic or international student. If you've ever experienced these feelings before, you're not alone!
What causes homesickness?
Homesickness usually occurs at the start of the academic year and during holiday celebrations such as Christmas and Easter. Those who experience the state of homesickness feel some sort of anxiety, sadness and nervousness and most often preoccupation with thoughts of home and the longing for familiar surroundings and friends. Homesickness can lead to more serious mental health issues such as depression so it is important that it is addressed and dealt with.
How you can fight back against homesickness
One reliable way to deal with homesickness is to immerse yourself into the post-secondary experience. Join a club or group with like-minded people, attended activities and events organized by the institution and join peer mentorship and ambassador programs in support of causes you stand for.
At SAIT, the SAIT Student Association (Saitsa) has a lot of clubs, and hosts weekly activities where students partake in fun events to win prizes. The SAIT Student Leadership Program also offers students a range of support services such as the Student Peer Mentorship Program, International Student Leaders, Interfaith Leaders, Study Abroad Leaders and Pride Leaders. Students are given opportunities to lead and mentor other students like themselves. If you're finding adjustments are difficult, SAIT Student Development and Counselling is there to help you!
Keeping in touch with home
In addition, it is very important that you manage relationships with home. Regular contact with friends and family is important, but at the same time you need to give yourself space to focus on your new life.
Don't be disheartened if being a student isn't immediately the amazing experience you expected. You should also avoid bottling up your feelings and rejecting opportunities to meet new people by locking yourself away in your room.
Embrace the experience; be open to new experiences and meeting new people. There's nothing wrong with being homesick. It's normal and adaptive to feel homesick.
We get homesick because we miss the things and people we love. If there were nothing in the world that we loved, we wouldn't miss them when we're away. From this perspective, homesickness isn't so bad!
Check out the SAIT Students' Association