For anyone this is the worst feeling in the world, but as an international student, living in a totally different continent from your home, this feeling can be much worse. Here are some tips to overcome homesickness :)!
1. Don’t stay in your room or apt alone. Go out, interact with people and mingle with the world. The more alone and away from the world you stay the worse the feeling of missing home and a comfortable surrounding becomes. If you are new and don’t have many friends yet, go out grab a cup of coffee or tea from your local starbucks or cafe and just hang out there for a while. Sitting among people is also refreshing and can definitely help the homesick feeling decrease.
2. Find an event on campus that you can go to and mingle with people. Like I already said, if you stay alone and isolate yourself, the more homesick you will feel. Instead of staying in your room, find events on campus to go to and be social. Mingle with people. As much as I already say it, I guess I can’t say it enough, you’re an international student! You are a very interesting person, don’t be afraid to mingle with people and share things about your home country, those are always great conversations. People learn so much from your first hand accounts of your home country and you never know where you will make friends.
3. Call home! If you feel homesick this is the most natural thing to do, but instead of conversing about sad things and how much you miss the awesome things from home. Talk about all the positives in your life in the new country. Talk to your family or friends about the great opportunities that are upcoming in your life and you will see how quickly that feeling of homesickness becomes a feeling of triumph. You will feel like a whole new person with so much positivity after that conversation.
4. Watch a feel good movie. There is nothing better than watching a movie that makes you feel good about life and leaves you feeling very positive about your future.
The only way to overcome homesickness is to make sure that you don’t let yourself fall prey to negative feelings. It is very easy to feel negative and give up on yourself, but you have to remember that you control your future. The more positive thoughts and feelings you have the more energy, confidence and drive you will have to keep going no matter where in the world you are! 🙂
So many things can be said about culture shock, but everyone who first comes to the U.S. from another country has their own experiences to share. Coming from Africa, I expected the culture to be pretty similar and didn’t realize how much different America is. What we see on tv and in movies is not really what life in the U.S. is like. The thing that made me realize I am in a totally different place was when I realized how much variety there is in everything.
For example, back home when grocery shopping there would only be select varieties of a small number to chose from and so you knew exactly what to get. When I went grocery shopping in the states for the first time I realized what a huge dilemma having so much variety can cause. All I wanted was a packet of chocolate chip cookies and yet staring at me in the aisle were at least 10 different brands of chocolate chip cookies! That was when I realized that culture shock is definitely something that happens to us all.
So here are my tips for getting over the culture shock of a new place:
1. Don’t isolate yourself and be alone all the time. All universities or colleges have an international office that you can visit. Get more information on clubs and activities happening on campus from them, where you can go and mingle with students and make friends. The international office usually has events of their own, like orientation, where you can meet other international students and make friends with them too.
2. When you start classes talk to the people sitting around you. If you don’t approach people in class you might not make friends in class easily. The best way to make friends in classes is definitely by talking to your classmates.
3. Check out the student center or student union on campus. It is called something different on every campus, but they usually can give you a calendar of events for the semester and you can then decide what to attend.
4. Go to the facebook page for the college and see if they have events on campus that you can enjoy and go to those. Sometimes campuses have mixers and social events for students to network and those are the best events to meet student from different walks of life at.
Getting out and talking to people on campus at different events is a definite way for you to make friends and beat the culture shock. Making friends in the new country you are going to can help you learn more about the culture and definitely learn the way people live there. It can also help you feel less homesick as you will not have time to think about all the things you are missing amongst all the new things you are learning and exploring.
Culture shock is definitely inevitable, but by keeping an open mind and wanting to explore and learn more about a culture you can turn the negative effects of culture shock in to positive learning experiences. 🙂
What is a global scholar? I’m sure you’re wondering what I mean by global scholar because today that can describe so many people. What I am talking about is people who travel around the world in search of knowledge. These are the travelers that are on a mission to learn what they can and experience life in a different way. In particular people who go to other countries to get a degree or on an exchange program.
The reason why I started this blog is because I too am one of those global scholars who went to another country to get a degree. I always wished when I first left home that there was somewhere I could look to read about the different aspects of life in the U.S. and what it would be like to be an international student. I always wished there was a manual to explain why things are so different and when I was homesick what should I do. It was all so new to me and I am sure there are others who feel that way too.
That is why I have started this blog, I want to share my experiences as an international student about topics like, culture shock, how to live in the U.S. when you are new, making friends in a new environment, slang, being homesick, etc. My hope is that I am able to answer so many unanswered questions new international students have, by sharing my experiences and what I have learnt as an international student over the last couple years.