Your first week or two abroad in Europe is a whirlwind. Everything is new and exciting, and you find yourself wanting to do everything all at once. Jam-packed days of wanderlust and nights full of adventure. Once things start to slow down and you settle into a routine that feeling can come creeping in.
Feeling homesick is totally normal. Homesickness can come in a variety of forms, like missing a friend’s 21st birthday, craving food from your favorite takeout place or longing to cuddle on the couch with your dog. It’s going to be different for everybody. Whatever the reason and no matter how intense the feeling is, it can really put a damper on your study abroad experience.
So what can you do to make sure that you don’t get caught in a homesick funk?
While there isn’t a one size fits all cure for homesickness or some kind of instant fix, there are ways to help you shake that feeling and get back to living your best life.
Be mindful of how often you’re calling home
Facetime and Whatsapp are great for keeping in contact with the most important people in your life, but you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where constant communication only makes you feel further away.
Limit your time on Social Media
Social media has made it easier than ever before to keep track of your friends’ lives, simply by scrolling through your timeline. Group messages that are constantly updated allow you to still feel “in the loop,” even when you’re an ocean away, but FOMO is real and sometimes it can be really difficult to see your friends continuing life without you, getting together and having the type of fun that you were always a part of. So limit your time on social media and try your best to stay present where you are.
Distract yourself by making a bucket list
Who knows when the next time you’ll be in Europe is? Take full advantage of the opportunity right at your fingertips. Cheap flights and open borders make exploring Europe a breeze. Research different attractions, museums, parks, and other hotspots in the cities you want to visit and make a list of what you’d like to see and do during your time abroad.
Take a break if you need it. Give yourself permission to take the day off and indulge in things that just make you feel good. Whether that’s eating chocolate in bed or drinking wine on the beach.
Stay positive and always ask for help if you need it
It’s a lot easier said than done when it comes to keeping a positive attitude when you’re feeling down. The assignments are piling up, your phone’s been stolen and you can’t seem to find a normal sleep schedule, it’s all a bit overwhelming. However, staying positive is the key to having a great experience.
If you find that you are worried about your studies, finances or you just can’t seem to shake that feeling of homesickness then be sure to reach out for help. Most Universities have counselors who can offer assistance, whether it be to work through a serious problem, or just to talk about how to adjust to your new environment.
Remember, home is going to be there for you when you get back.
Go out, try new things and make friends. Explore the countries that you’ll probably never have the time to again. Embrace the newness around you and most of all remember to just enjoy it, you don’t want to look back on your time abroad with regrets that you didn’t do or see more.