As incredible as your study abroad experience may be, it Is almost impossible to not have a few tough days. Some of these tough days may be because of class, or some might be from the weather. But many of these tough days will involve the dreaded wave of homesickness. The feeling that we all try to ignore.
It might be a familiar scent from far away, or a local who sounds like your friend, or even a food that looks familiar. Whatever the trigger may be, there really is no way to avoid the unavoidable. When that bout of homesickness hits, it’s tough to ignore.
Although you may not be able to avoid homesickness, you can always work through it! Here are some tips to help the feeling pass:
- Walk Around Your New Home
Get up and go! It may seem cliché, but if you are sitting in your apartment when the homesickness hits, get outside! Go for a stroll down your favorite street, hit up your favorite local food shop, or even go visit your new favorite museum! Whatever you do, get up and get out! The more you immerse yourself into your local culture, the quicker your homesickness will go away.
- Spend Time With Your Study Abroad Friends
Surrounding yourself with people who make you laugh can definitely help you forget. Grab your roommate and head out to your favorite restaurant. Head to a new part of town with your friends and explore. Chances are, at one point or another, all of your friends will experience some feeling of homesickness. Therefore, talk to them about it, help each other through it, and remember how lucky you are to have each other.
- Keep an Eye Out for Any Local Spots Centered Around American Culture.
A final tip to help over come homesickness, is to give yourself a dose of home. Maybe it’s the “American restaurant” in town, or the pub that plays all your favorite music from home. Or the corner coffee shop that makes American coffee (yes, I’m talking about Starbucks). Whatever the case may be, it will help! It is never bad to give yourself a reminder of home while you’re abroad.
Homesickness is never something to be ashamed of! While many of us may wish we could switch the feeling off, it isn’t easy to do. The feeling is only a small part of the monumental experience known as study abroad.
Shannon Murphy is Senior at the University of Kentucky majoring in Political Science. Shannon spent the Fall 2015 Semester in Florence Italy.