As students arrive to begin their exchange years, they may be excited to be here, but they may suffer a bit of homesickness as well.
Homesickness is very common and can pop up at any time. It may be present right after arrival, a few weeks in, around the holidays or birthdays, or even several months into the experience. Regardless of when it happens, it’s important to make sure it doesn’t stick around for too long!
There are some easy ways to keep homesickness from ruining your experience.
- Talk to someone! Talk to your host family, IEC, RC, PSM, a friend…but talk it out!
- Keep busy! Get involved in activities at school. Play a sport, join a club, participate in a music group. If you attend church regularly, find out what opportunities for involvement may exist there.
- Limit your contact with home and online. While technology makes communicating with friends and family back home so much easier, it’s not healthy to spend all your free time online with them, especially when you’re homesick. It will only make it worse and it will take away from time you could be spending with your “new” family here in the US.
- Share the things you miss about home with your host family. This is a great way to open up the cultural exchange that can be such a great part of this program. Talk to them about the differences you may be struggling with and see what advice they have.
- Do something that relaxes you and makes you feel better – listen to music, take a walk, exercise. That can help to elevate your mood.
- Remember that being homesick is normal. It’s okay to be sad or miss things about home.
- Give yourself time to adjust and get to know your new surroundings.
- You’re not alone! You have a great support unit around you to help you. We’ve all been there and are happy to help.
Host families, if you see symptoms of homesickness, encourage your student to talk about it. If you have any difficulties or need advice, remember that your IEC, RC and Program Support Manager are always available to help you and your student through it.
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