New friends, new environment, and a new country. Moving abroad for studies can be one of the exciting moments in the life of an international student. Despite the thrill of living alone, away from restrictions at home, most students suffer from a feeling of homesickness and separation anxiety. Homesickness is a feeling of anxiety, sadness, and fear that pervades students who spend a prolonged period away from home and other comfortable surroundings. The longing for the familiar can weigh heavily on international students in India who miss the familiar food, customs and family members in a foreign country.
In this article, we list some of the top tips to avoid homesickness and culture shock abroad.
Get into a Routine
Homesickness is not just about missing home. It’s about missing things that are familiar, whether it’s your routine or the sense of security that comes from staying in a familiar place. Moving to a new place can disrupt this routine and make your life full of inconsistencies, instability, and surprises. The best way students can get acclimated in a new country is by making new routines that they enjoy.
Start by getting a feel for your new home. Then create routines that are similar to ones at home such as eating out at a favourite restaurant once a week, exercising every day, reading a book at night, listening to music on the way to college or going to bed early.
Find your Home-Away-From-Home
Staying in a cozy accommodation can go a long way to alleviating the feeling of depression and loneliness that comes with staying at home. Staying in college hostels and student-oriented accommodation helps you stay close to your peers and keeps your mind off home when not in college.
Get Out and Stay Social
As much as you would like to stay cooped up at home, it’s important to step out and get busy. Even though your primary focus would be on studying while you’re in India, chances are that you would not be sitting all day in lecture halls.
Take your time off to visit local attractions and find a list of places to explore. Getting involved in college activities is one of the best ways for international students in India to start building new lives and patterns.
Make New Friends
A sense of loneliness that affects students staying away from home can contribute to homesickness. The best way to get over this is by finding new friends and building relationships with your peers. Be open to how you feel with your new connections. Chances are that they would have gone through the same experience and would help you beat it.
Seeking help from friends and teachers is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it exemplifies your courage and your willingness to embrace new experiences.
Embrace the Experience
Immerse yourself in the culture of India. The country boasts of vibrant culture and various languages. Learn the local language, know the customs, try the local food and enjoy the colorful festivals when you come to study in India. Make a goal of doing something cultural every week to boost your intercultural communication skills and enjoy the new environment.
Keep in Touch
One of the most common reasons for feeling homesick in a new country is the feeling of missing out. As you stay away, your friends and family learn to move on. Thankfully technology such as Skype and social media has made it easier to stay in touch with connections back home.
However, spending too much time messaging friends and updating family members about your every experience can take time away that you should spend connecting with new friends and making new memories.
It takes time to get over homesickness. So, don’t be disappointed if you don’t love your new environment right away. Be optimistic, don’t be hard on yourself and remember the reason why you moved here in the first plan.
Do you have any tips for combating homesickness? Tell us in the comments below.