Homesickness

Five ways to handle it

Cristina Di Loreto
September 11, 2014

It happens to many students abroad: you are feeling the breeze upon your face, seeing friends smiling, eating delicious food—aware that it is not your usual breeze, not familiar smiles, and that the cappuccino and cornetto are making you yearn for your mom’s breakfast. And then you feel guilty for feeling homesick.

 

Having the opportunity to explore the world and get to know different cultures and people is a great gift. The sights alone can be amazing, like the breathtaking view of Florence from the top of piazzale Michelangelo. But even if you are in the most beautiful place on earth, enjoying the marvellous adventure of a sojourn abroad, it is natural to feel the tug of the deeply familiar. Here are five simple ways to feel better about yearning for that beloved and unique place, home, in the midst of your adventure overseas:

 

1. Try to find similarities instead of differences. You will discover that ‘people are people’ even when you’re so far away from home. Try to find two or three similarities every day while you’re traveling, which will also help you to feel closer to the locals.

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2. Write letters to family. Writing can be very helpful in letting emotions flow in a positive way. When you are homesick, avoid calling home. Writing, on the other hand, will let you feel close to family without making your sensations too heavy and hard to deal with. Write them about your trip, but also about your feelings about home.

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3. Try to get to know people in depth. Travelers sometimes just feel like tourists looking at new things and places. But getting to know people is a truly unforgettable experience. Friendships can be a real blessing during and after your time abroad, much better ‘baggage’ than countless souvenirs.

 

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4. Develop your hobbies. Keep up with your hobbies and your routine. Even though you are away from home, it doesn’t mean you are different. Sticking to your usual activities will help you to adjust. Remember to do one thing each day that you love, however small that might be. (Your hobbies and interests are also a great way to get to know people and the language of your temporary home; see, for example, theflr.net/oe5vdb.)

 

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5. Find the beauty around you, inside you and inside new friends. Beauty surrounds us, but only if we look for it. Living in Florence, it will not be difficult to find beauty, but joy and pleasure is better if you share it with someone, so search for new friends. Strive to see the beauty in them and search in their eyes for yours.

 

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“Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”

—Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

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