Getting Homesick

Even with trips, events and activities happening almost constantly abroad, homesickness can still set in, and that’s perfectly okay! It’s just a matter of not letting it ruin the whole study abroad experience.

For one, keeping busy does help to ward off homesickness because if you have different things to focus on, that truly require your attention, then you will have less time to focus on what you miss at home. My host family also helps to keep any homesickness at bay because they have made such an effort to make their home my home, and to make me feel like a part of the family. I still have days that I miss my own family, but they have made it so that the feeling is not so overwhelming.

For my entire college career, I have also been somebody who talks to my family a lot, and on a regular basis, so going abroad made that tough. Phone calls are expensive, so that was out of the question, but we used video chatting instead, even if a six hour time difference makes it harder to coordinate good times to call. Even when you find a good way to communicate with your loved ones at home, it can sometimes leave you even more homesick because you just want to get back to them, or you might spend all of your time talking to them and forget to experience your host country. That’s why I try to make my calls during siesta because everything is closed anyway, so I’m not missing out on anything like museums or getting tapas.
I have found, at least for me, keeping in touch with friends from home has helped, especially since the way I’m keeping in touch is with postcards. Postcards have proved to be a great way to focus on who and what you miss for a little while and then send it away. It’s almost as fun as when friends send their own cards or postcards, and those can be the best pick me ups during a tough week. This also makes it so that I am not spending my whole study abroad experience on the computer forgetting to enjoy it.

Dealing with homesickness is always hard, but it’s never impossible. You just have to find what works for you so that you can continue to enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity to live and study abroad. And remember to leave the computer screen for a little while, you might be amazed at what you find when you aren’t always checking on what’s happening at home.


Rynne O’Connor is a student at St. Michael’s College and an official API Student Blogger. Rynne is studying abroad with API in Salamanca, Spain.

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