How to Overcome Homesickness When Studying Abroad

Carolina Jacobs

Feb 17, 2023

We are a reader-supported education publication. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission to help us keep providing content.

Studying abroad can be one of the most eye-opening, informative experiences for students of every age. But, how to overcome homesickness when studying abroad is just another item on the packing to-do list. It introduces new obstacles, such as combatting homesickness, perhaps for the first time in your life. Varied personalities may cope or experiment differently with this emotion to mitigate its intensity or eliminate it. Either way, homesickness is possible to quiet when studying abroad.

Stay in Touch With Loved Ones

The most obvious way to stop missing someone is to communicate with them. Schedule time — no matter the time zone — to call or video chat with friends and family to make the distance feel not as wide. You may even take time to send snail mail or postcards to make the journey feel a bit more fantastical.

However, there should be a balance of communication. Spending too much time focusing on chatting with friends and family can distract you from the people and possibilities of your study abroad location. 

Though loved ones at home provide solace while you’re in an unfamiliar place, one of the points of studying abroad is to step out of your comfort zone and experience independence.

There are a few ways to balance time to make sure you have adequate distribution:

  • Meet new people in your area by going to exchange student events or local festivals — stay busy.
  • Develop a healthy relationship with social media, so you don’t ruminate over what people are doing at home that you are missing out on.
  • Pre-schedule calling times with friends and family so you can visualize how much time you spend on these engagements per week.

Always listen to your intuition when staying connected. If you’re having a rough week and know your family can soothe you, spend more time with them and don’t feel guilty. Maintain self-awareness during your journey to get the most out of where you are.

Rethink What Homes Means to You

When you take a step back to ponder what home means to you, you could arrive at some illuminating conclusions. For some, home is where loved ones are. For others, home is the physical location because it closely relates to their roots. It’s vital to remember home doesn’t have to be one place — if you shift your mindset so you can have multiple homes, your temporary study abroad locale can start to feel homier. 

Once the mindset is settled, everything else you can do to increase hominess is icing on the cake. Engage with routines, habits, and self-care the same way you would at home, whether having a hot drink in a bath, reading every morning on a patio, or having a nighttime jog. 

You can also decorate your home, so it doesn’t feel as sterile. You could only be there for a few months, but there are cheap ways to make your living area more pleasurable and less temporary.

When you understand your study abroad location as another home, you can deepen your association with the place. One way to do this is through travel journals, where you can write diary entries or scrapbook memorabilia to remind yourself of what you experienced. 

Embrace the Culture Shock

You’re in a new place with new sights, flavors, and opportunities — take in as much of it as possible. Some create study abroad bucket lists of the top sightseeing locations, tourist attractions, classes, restaurants and cafes, and any other category that interests you. Creating soft itineraries for these activities will keep your experience invigorated with the culture and people of your second home.

Talk to the people in the area and learn what matters to them and their country. What food do they eat? Maybe you should take time to dabble in learning the language. Are there any skills your host country is known for you may want to try, such as a type of art or sport?

Ultimately, you are still studying abroad, so engage with the studies thoughtfully and learn about the area to become a more extraordinary observer of the world. 

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to accomplish everything, because then it can detract from the activities you do get to enjoy. Have compassion with balance, because despite how much sensory overload study abroad can be, it’s manageable with adequate planning and energy management. 

Champion Homesickness Overseas

You can radiate joy even thousands of miles away from home. Not everyone will know how to overcome homesickness when studying abroad in the same way, but every method is worth attempting to make the most out of your travels. It’s vital to manage these motions to maintain complete focus in the present moment.

For some, it may be the only chance they have to visit a particular destination — for others, it will spark years of wanderlust. No matter who you are, you can manage homesickness, so your time abroad is full of inspirational memories and delightful nostalgia.

Written By