This post is a part of our weekly International Voices column, writing by UT students, for UT students. Enjoy!
In the midst of hubbub of Friday night parties, do you often feel that you do not belong to this place? Do you miss being in your favorite places back in your country? Have you been constantly thinking of just going home this very instant? Then you, my friend, are feeling what we call “homesickness.” I always think homesickness is a misnomer, considering the fact that missing home can never be a sickness. However, as it says, “when you are in Rome do as the Romans do”, we will call homesickness as homesickness.
If it is of any comfort, let me tell you that you are not alone in your ordeal. I left “Home” when I was 6 years old. Even then, as an international student away from my country, I experienced this torment, intensely. Now, I won’t bore you with the explicit details of my own circumstance. Instead, I will be giving some tips and suggestions on how to cope up and perhaps overcome this trouble.
First, the most common approach is simply keeping in touch. Nothing beats the “good old” voice and face of loved ones. Though it is far from being personally there, it’s the next best thing that could be. Social networking could be a blessing in this regard. Thanks to technology, we can now get messages instantly rather than waiting for days to get the mail. Even better, sometimes it’s a live news feed on what’s “currently up” with your friends and family. Seeing their images and hearing them talk is just like having your piece of home right then and there with you.
Another thing that you can do is to keep busy. You may have already noticed that when you are idle, homesickness is at its peak. It’s during those times when you are bored and doing nothing that your mind tends to wander off back to your home. So do something! And that does not include staring at the wall or daydreaming. If you’re in school, I am sure you know that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. There are literally tons of things to do. There are requirements, projects, assignments and a whole lot of other scholastic stuff that can eat your time. If you’re not interested in academic stuff, you can also do sports or go out or discover a new hobby. Who knows, you might discover and even succeed on a new endeavor that you are about to undertake. It does not matter what you do, as long as you are occupied and the stuff you are doing is constructive.
The last and probably best suggestion that I could offer is to create a new home. Obviously, I don’t suggest you to replace your old “home sweet home”. After all, there is no place like “home”. I’m suggesting, that you make and create an atmosphere that “almost” feels like home. Socialize, meet new friends, and create a strong bond with them. If you want, you could even call them a family. It’s not a replacement; it’s an extension. Make yourself at home in your new environment. Explore and be familiar with your surroundings. Welcome the change and appreciate your new place’s distinctiveness and exquisiteness in order to extend and diversify your “home”.
And that was how I got through feeling homesick. I am not sure if these suggestions will work for everybody. Every individual is unique and has his/her own way of coping. But these sure helped me a lot over the years, and I hope it would do the same to you.