On my exchange program, I spent 6 months studying in England. This is a LONG time to be away from your parents, your friends, your siblings, your mom’s homemade chicken potpie, and even your cat. I am not prone to homesickness but a lot of people experience it when they’re abroad for that long. I am here to tell you that either way – homesick or not – it is OK!
I have lived in the same house in the same neighborhood in the same state my whole life. This offered so much stability and comfort growing up – which is probably the reason why I don’t get homesick often because I know I have something stable to come back to. I was too busy meeting new friends, trying new foods, and gallivanting around to even have time to stop and be homesick for longer than a minute or two. You are not wrong or weird because you do not get homesick. You just may have an adventurous soul that loves the inconsistency of travelling and staying in a different city every night. If you are thinking about going abroad at all, that is already a huge step that a lot of people don’t get to experience!
But when you do get homesick – you get homesick. Giving yourself time to be sad and reflect on these emotions you’re feeling is good. Processing why you feel this way and learning new strategies to overcome this is really beneficial, because who knows? You might be moving a lot for your job one day. Having good friends and things around you that make you more comfortable when you’re homesick is essential. I have this special pillow that I have had my whole life and I literally cannot sleep without it. I thought I would be all big and bad and leave home without it. I basically didn’t sleep the whole first two weeks I was there and I had to have my parent’s express ship my pillow to me. FaceTime and Skype don’t hurt either.
There are a lot of ways to cope with being homesick, and not being homesick. Don’t be held back by a fear that is so easily fixable and that which almost everyone experiences. Studying abroad is for every type of person, from every background, with any type of means – homebody or not.
Jenna Anderson is a junior studying Arts Administration, Dance, and Communications. She participated in the UK Exchange at the University of Central Lancashire in spring 2015.