In this post, Audrey Nicole Kurniawan, who came from Indonesia all the way to Ireland to study, shares her top tips for dealing effectively with homesickness and enjoying student life in Ireland to the full!

Homesickness is something I’ve experienced since coming to Ireland. I come from Indonesia, around 12,000km away, which takes 18 hours to travel to by plane. When you think about studying abroad, you think of it as something exciting as you are entering a new chapter in your life. This is true until homesickness happens. It is very common, so don’t worry if you feel homesick at times. Personally, I felt homesick when I came back here for the second time, after summer back at home. It really hit me: I’m all alone, in a different country, across the world from home.

But what can you do to tackle homesickness? Here are a few tips that have helped me.

Stay positive!

Try to focus on the positive things, wherever you are. Remember that you’re here only for a short amount of time, whether it is three months or a year, and there’s always a chance for you to fly back home. Everyone says this but it’s true; time will go by so quickly you won’t even notice. Think about what you came here for: to study, have fun and experience new things. Stay positive, and the next time you’re home you’ll enjoy your time twice as much.

Don’t spend too much time in your room – go out and explore!

Your room might feel like it’s a safe place for you but staying in it for too long might actually make homesickness worse. You’ll spend more time thinking about the things you miss most about home. Rather than staying in bed all day, go out and explore. Explore the new city you’re in; go for a walk in town, have a look around, try out new cuisines. Keep yourself busy, whether it’s finding a new job or doing assignments in a café. These things can help take your mind off missing home.

Keep in touch, but not too much!

Keep in touch with your family and friends back home from time to time; it can help you feel as if you’re home with them, and feel more connected. However, too much time spent talking to them can make you miss home even more. Remember that your family and friends back home will be waiting for you to go back, so spend your time exploring your new city, as it will make you feel better.

Write out your feelings

I’m the type of person who writes my feelings and my emotions out. For me, it really helps to write all my emotions down, whether it is in a journal or even typing it out on my phone. I usually write about what I miss most about home, and afterwards, I’ll write about what I’m grateful for in this new city I live in. If you’re not the type of person to write down your feelings, maybe try to communicate with others about it; it can help too!

Make new friends

Studying abroad is an opportunity for you to make new friends from around the world. These people come from different countries, but they come to this city and have the same purpose as you. They are also most likely experiencing homesickness just like you, so why not talk to them and enjoy your time together? This is a great way to help you tackle homesickness.

It’s a new journey – make the most of it! 

Being away from home is not easy. You have good days and bad days, but remember to always stay positive. If something does not work out today, it doesn’t mean it can’t work out the next day. Being homesick is normal. Everyone who is away from home feels this way and that’s okay. And while homesickness isn’t something that you can tackle overnight, as time goes on it will get better. Go out, explore, make new friends and, most importantly, have fun. It’s the start of a new journey in your life, so make it the most memorable one yet.