Homesick? No problem! Tiranat Srisaan Terawanji from Thailand has it all worked out when it comes to what to do to feel better when you miss home – and home cooking!
When I first arrived in Ireland, I felt so excited and positive about everything. After staying for a while, however, I started to miss home and get a bit depressed. I guess “homesickness” happens to most international students; it’s normal when students are away from their home. However, there are a few things that I do to help me mitigate my homesickness. And I hope they help you.
Join college clubs or societies
As far as I’m concerned, Irish universities are quite famous for great clubs and societies; there are loads of them! By joining, there is a high chance that you will meet people with the same interests or even the same nationality. Typically, each club or society would have a weekly activity. Being a member of several clubs and societies keeps me busy and makes me stop thinking about home. Distraction works!
Find your tribe
Thanks to social media technology, we’re able to easily find people who study at our university and have the same nationality. By meeting people from the same country, I don’t feel lonely any more. Also, I have met several students from my country (Thailand) who have been living in Ireland for years, and their advice or experience has proved very useful and encouraging.
Cook traditional food
Food is one of the best things that has helped me to cope with my homesickness. From my experience, many students get homesick because they miss the food from their native country. Therefore, when you start to feel homesick, I highly recommend cooking the food that you normally have at home. Ireland’s main cities are full of ethnic food stores, so you will probably be able to get hold of the ingredients you need easily enough. Most importantly, before enjoying the food, I usually invite my friends to come and join me for a meal. In this way, it is also a great opportunity to have a cultural exchange.
Do the touristy things!
Sometimes, homesickness hits because you run out of new experiences. Thus, I always check out new places or destinations to go when I started to feel bored with my city. Travelling around Ireland is quite convenient and comfortable. In my opinion, buses are the most comfortable and affordable option for transportation. Since travelling to another city normally takes 2-3 hours on average, I normally leave my city (Waterford, in the ‘Sunny Southeast’) in the early morning and spend most of the day in another city before returning in the evening. This way I get the whole day but still save on accommodation expenses, often the most expensive part of any trip away.
Reach out to your student support team
As student well-being is one of the main concerns for most universities in Ireland, so nearly all universities and third-level institutions have a student support division. If I feel that my homesickness starts to be overwhelming, this is probably the first place I visit. After making an appointment with the counselling service, the student can meet with a psychologist/psychotherapist who can help to solve any issues the student may have. Also, the student does not need to worry about the expense because it is likely to be “free of charge”.
So, that’s it! When you start to feel homesick (and many of us will at one time or another), follow these tips and you should feel better soon. I did.