Study abroad: top tips for dealing with homesickness
Arriving in a brand new country can be terrifying. The landscape, the houses, buses, people and schedules may be totally different to what you are used to. Some people love the feeling of the unknown, some feel totally overwhelmed. Truth be told, I cried on my first day in Dublin… yes, strong men do cry!
After the first few weeks in a new place and when you the initial excitement of being a tourist dies down, is when the feeling that we Brazilians call “Saudade” comes; it is the nostalgia, a wistful desire to return to the past. You miss your family, your friends, and basically everything, good and bad, from your hometown.
It’s in that moment of weakness when these four steps (along with other student bloggers experiences) for coping with homesickness will be most useful…
Step one: forget about the weather
It can be depressed to look at the window and see the “lovely” weather of Ireland. Therefore, act like a true Irish: put your rain jacket, get out of the house, and believe that is you who decides if it is a good day or not.
Step two: stop comparing
This is really important as it’s human nature to compare new experiences with what we already know, and this can be a big mistake. Avoid thinking things like ‘oh, this tastes different here; that looks better there; this is not what I’m used to doing… and so on!’ Stop it! Face new things as a child would, without prejudice or anticipation. There is nothing better, there is nothing worse, is just different and that is what make it interesting. Experiment and absorb your surroundings, it is the best way to learn new things.
Step three: eat like you want to
Luckily in Dublin and many other cities around Ireland, there are many options for food – both local and international – that I can’t see any problem in finding a place to eat with your home cuisine. But, if by any chance you can’t find anywhere, the supermarkets and food stores provide almost the same things you could have in your country, you just have to cook them. If you don’t know how to cook, It’s about time you learned!
Step four: new relationships are the key to adapting
It is nice to meet people of the same place you come from, you may even feel a higher affinity with them; but don’t close yourself in to only one culture, with just people from your country. Interacting with different nations and different types of minds, you will discover that we all equal in our differences; and before you realise it you will be acting like an Irish person! Eating Irish breakfasts, drinking Irish coffee, dancing to Irish music… and living life in a brand new country!