International students are constantly exposed to new things — new friends, new living environment, new studies, new country. This is what makes studying in Australia such a rewarding experience. But it is only natural that all these new experiences will, at times, leave you missing your home, your family and things that are familiar.
Four tips for dealing with homesickness:
Keep yourself busy: You are more likely to feel homesick when you are at home by yourself not doing anything than when you are busy doing things that you enjoy. Having your friends over, cooking yourself one of your favourite meals from home, going to see a movie, going to the gym, reading a book or even just going outside for a walk are great ways to keep yourself active when you aren’t going to classes or studying. By adding activities you enjoy to your daily routine, you will have less time to miss home.
Get involved: Joining a club at your campus or in your community is a good way to make new friends and keep yourself busy. Joining an international student society is a good first step because you will be able to meet students who are going through similar experiences and are likely to be missing home themselves, giving you access to a good support network. From here you can also join other clubs that you are interested in (such as a cooking club or a sporting club) that will put you in touch with people who share similar interests.
Keep in touch with home: Regular contact with your friends and family overseas will help bridge the distance and can provide you with a great source of comfort. Skype is great — not only because it is free, but also because seeing your loved ones as you talk really helps you to feel closer to them. Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter are also good for casual communication and will ensure you don’t miss out on anything going on at home.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help: When talking to your friends or your family isn’t enough, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your higher education provider. They know the pressures that international students face and will be able to direct you to a range of international student support services such as counselling, recreational activities, social clubs and mentoring programs.