Study Abroad: Dealing with Homesickness

I read once that every time we don’t give into homesickness, we build immunity to it. And after being in the UK for a month, I would say I am a believer.

When I first went to college, I was unprepared. Homesickness consumed me and for the first two years, I went home every weekend. But, when my third year started, things were different.

I started making more friends, joined the running club and the newspaper, became friends with my then roommate and soon to be best friend, Becky, and suddenly, I had all of these things and people to distract me from my desire to go home every weekend. That’s not to say I didn’t want to go home. My parents will always be my biggest supporters and, they’ve always been the “cool” parents, who I actually like to spend time with. But it was at this time, part of me started refuse to give into homesickness.

homesicknessI started going two weeks, then three weeks, then four weeks without going home, and I found the more I refused to let my homesickness control me, the more able I was to deal with it.

Then, I decided I wanted to really see how far I could push myself, and I decided to study abroad. Flash forward to now, and I have been living in England for the past month on my own.

So, the question is – have I been homesick? The answer, for the most part, is…sometimes.

There are times that I wish I could be home. A place where I know the routine and where my friends and my family are right beside me. And there are still times when I look at the remaining nine weeks ahead and think – what have I gotten myself into?

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But, there is a bigger part of me that is happy to be on my own, discovering new things, and forging my own path. The homesickness that I feel isn’t all encompassing like it once was, but twinges here and there. It is nowhere near the homesickness that I lived with during my first two years of college.

I think the only way to really beat homesickness is to acknowledge it, experience it, and refuse to give into it. In two months, I will be back in the same place I have always been and, part of me will be relieved and part of me will be sad to leave behind this place that I am learning to love.

Homesickness is funny like that. It hits you when you least expect it, but I think learning to live with it is the only way you can ever beat it. I look back at who I was as a freshman, and I try to imagine her here in England, and the thing is, I can’t.

Three years ago, I would have never gotten on the plane, but after learning to live with homesickness, I’m a lot stronger now, more apt to deal with it, more ready to seek out others instead of going it alone.

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And after all this time, I’m not so scared of homesickness anymore.

Homesickness is all in your head, and if you refuse to give into it, if you decide that you can muster on, time again and time again, eventually homesickness fades away. It becomes manageable, a twinge, a sigh, a deep desire to hold a dollar bill in your hand instead of the coin for a pound, or for food labeled in ounces instead of grams, or for everyone to walk on one side of the freaking sidewalk instead of going all over the place.

And, maybe the truth is, I am not really that homesick after all. Maybe, I’ve built my immunity up or maybe, I’m just more well equipped to deal with it now. Either way, I’m proud that I am here, that I have made it one month without feeling like the world was crumbling under me. But most importantly, I’m proud that after all this time, I can look back and see the strides that I have made, the person I have become, the walls I have made it through.

I think, no one is more shocked than me.

63 days until I return to the US.

How do you deal with homesickness?

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6 thoughts on “Study Abroad: Dealing with Homesickness

  1. myclosetnbeautyfinds90 October 11, 2013 / 4:26 pm

    i’m embarrassed to say i’m almost 23, and i don’t deal with homesickness well at all. probably because I never really have to deal with it. i haven’t had the opportunity at this time in my life yet for multiple reasons. but anyway, good for you that you are pushing through and not letting the homesickness get to you! i don’t know if i could do that. great post!

    • Sam October 13, 2013 / 8:53 pm

      Thanks. Don’t be afraid of homesickness. It’s real, but you can overcome it!

  2. thatsnikki October 13, 2013 / 8:11 am

    Your post has inspired me to go push my plan in studying abroad,I know I’ll be scared and sad leaving everyone but from what I read in your post i can survive being independent and homesickness can be overcome xx

    • Sam October 13, 2013 / 8:54 pm

      Yay! Go for it. I had my doubts as well, and like I said, I do still get homesick sometimes here in the UK, but we can’t let the fear of homesickness stop us from going after our dreams. ;)

      • thatsnikki October 17, 2013 / 9:40 pm

        thank you for those words of encouragement x :)

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