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How to Get Over Homesickness - Exchange Student Edition

Homesickness is a term that sounds familiar to many exchange students. Whether it’s because they see it online or experience it themselves, it’s a common feeling. With the holiday season...

Homesickness is a term that sounds familiar to many exchange students. Whether it’s because they see it online or experience it themselves, it’s a common feeling. With the holiday season approaching many people will say this is when it hits the hardest. In this post we will be discussing ways to deal with homesickness and how it has affected me.


First of all, what’s the definition of homesickness? It is defined as : longing for home and family while absent from them. Basically missing home. And yes, home in this case (and many others) includes the people. It’s a complex feeling that is differentiated from sadness by the confusion of liking where you are, but still missing home. Which is completely normal! As long as you appreciate where you are right now and what you have there is nothing wrong with the longing from your customs and home. 


How do I stop feeling this way? Is one of the most common questions we receive in @exchangelifecommunity. The short answer is you have to feel your feelings first. This applies to anything in life, you can’t (or shouldn’t) rationalize your feelings or push them down. Instead the most healthy coping mechanism is to acknowledge them, feel them, and move on. If you try to make them go away, there will be a part of you that is not able to let go. 


How to get over homesickness: 4 Steps

Coming from someone who has a hard time feeling my emotions these are some of the things that have helped me in this context of homesickness. 

 

1. Stay In

Even though this advice is the opposite to what many will tell you it is sometimes necessary to have some days in to reset and regroup yourself. My favorite plan was to watch some of my comfort movies, some that make me cry, some laugh and some that remind me of home (Harry Potter, The Notebook, Booksmart and Fear Street respectively). This will help you settle down a little bit from a hectic life.

 

2. Call your Friends & Family

Again, many people will not encourage this behavior. Use this advice at your own discretion. For me, I felt so much better after a 20 minute Facetime call with my friend. It was the reassurance I needed that they are still there for me, and even if I’m away, nothing has changed. If you think this won’t help, skip this part! But personally, when I felt homesick it was so much better to talk with the people I was missing than to pretend they didn’t exist and move on.

 

3. Talk with your Host Family

Like we’ve said before, communication is crucial for a successful relationship with your host family. Letting them know how you are feeling can be super beneficial for both of you; they will understand what you are going through better and be able to help you through this time. Just the feeling of comfort and familiarity can help in times of uncertainty. 

 

4. Getting Out of the Slump

Now it’s time to move on! Even though we NEED to feel our emotions in order to be able to be healthy, we also need to know when it’s time to let them go. Think of things that help you get closure. Maybe it’s a letter to your past self telling them all the new things you’ve tried, maybe it’s burning a paper with negative feelings or maybe it’s going on top of a hill and screaming your lungs out. Whatever it is, let it go. Now that you have felt the sadness and longing it will be easier to tell them it’s time for them to leave, that you need to move on with your life.  


I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful! We will definitely be writing more on homesickness, especially this holiday season! Thank you all for reading!

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Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…

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