My remedy for homesickness
As an international student, moving 8000 kilometres away from home has been the most difficult thing I’ve had to endure. Even now, as I’m half-way through my degree, I find myself in an unsettling limbo between having my wildest dreams fulfilled and being engulfed by homesickness. There are days when I count my blessings for this opportunity of a lifetime, and there are days where I wish I never left home. Here are some things that have helped me cope so far.
Validate your emotions
Whether home is an ocean apart or a 2-hour drive away, allow yourself to miss home without the guilt of feeling that other people may have it worst. Moving for university is a massive step for everybody. You leave behind a chunk of everything and everyone you’ve ever known, and it takes more than a good personal statement and meeting the entry requirements to do that- it takes courage and strength. But it’s okay if you don’t wake up every morning feeling all that courageous or strong. Please remember that having off days doesn’t make you any less grateful for opportunities you got and that missing home doesn’t mean your friends/ flatmates aren’t amazing. You’re allowed to love your uni life and also long for home.
Find ways to stay connected with your roots
For me personally, food has been a factor that helped me stay connected to home. Between finding local restaurants that serve my cuisine and browsing through TikTok recipes to recreate my national dishes- I’ve found a little part of home that can get me through a bad test grade or an argument with a friend. Specially for international students, joining cultural societies are one of the best ways to tackle homesickness. In dressing up in traditional wear for balls, and gossip sessions about the motherland, you’ll find a little home away from home right here at Warwick.
Be your biggest support system
One of the biggest lessons of independence I’ve learned is that you must be your biggest support system. There were times when I couldn’t call my brother to cry to because it would have been 4 am in Bangladesh and times when I felt like my university friends (as wonderful as they are) wouldn’t understand my problems due to cultural differences. Those have been some of my loneliest times. What I’ve found to work for me is firstly, take a nap. Even if you have work and laundry and dishes piling up- take a nap and get back to it after. Secondly, treat yourself for your highs and your lows. Be your biggest cheerleader and your own shoulder to cry on. Learn to get yourself through the best and worst of days. And after all of these if you have a home away from home in the people you’ve met at university, life will be a lot happier.
Homesickness is different for everybody and no unique remedy cures all. What I will tell you is that it’s a work in progress. There are good days and bad days and most days, you just have to trust the process.