Struggling with homesickness? Our ambassador from the USA, Elanor McDevitt, shares her top tips to overcome the hard days when home seems very far away.
The thing that worried me most about coming to Ireland was how to handle getting homesick. Moving to Ireland was the first time I’d been away from home and my family for more than a weekend trip. I’m very close to my family and missing them was one of the scariest parts about moving to a new country where I didn’t know anyone. Thankfully, after about two years on this lovely island, I know how to kick homesickness out when I start to feel it, and know how to combat the feeling before it happens. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Know when your friends and family are available to talk. I have the Arizona/Ireland time difference memorised at this point, and know that my mom will be awake around noon my time, and most of my friends are awake around dinner time. This both helps me to know the best time to text someone, and know when it’s past time for them to be awake so I don’t have to feel bad for double texting.
- WhatsApp, Messenger, and iMessage! These apps have made it so easy (and free!) to talk to all my favourite people from home. WhatsApp and Messenger are free to download and anyone with internet access can use them. Before moving, I was worried about hefty international calling or texting fees, but finding out there are free ways to chat made things so much easier.
- Set a FaceTime/Skype/video chat schedule. During my first semester in Ireland, I felt almost embarrassed to ask my friends or family to FaceTime when I was missing them. Now, of course, I realise that was a little silly, because they miss me as well. One thing that has helped me massively is setting a schedule. I FaceTime my grandparents every Saturday, my mom every other weekend, and try to FaceTime one of my friends at least once a week. One of the biggest perks of video calls is that you get to talk face to face, and see your pets.
4. Plan their next visit! I have been lucky that my mom and grandma try to visit once a year, and one thing that helps me is keeping a list going of what places I want to take them to the next time they come to Ireland. If you’re wondering, I recommend spending a day in Dublin and checking out the Jameson Distillery!
5. Do things that remind you of home. This may seem obvious, but when I’m feeling homesick, I like to go through my photos and videos from home, or cook a meal that my family makes.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for support. If you feel like you’re too homesick, or feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out to your college counsellor, a friend, or someone else you trust. The transition to a new country can be difficult, and sometimes it can feel like you’re the only one having a tough go, but you are never alone.
Enjoy Ireland! Moving can be scary, but Ireland is such a beautiful and bustling country. There is always some sort of event going on. Keeping busy can help distract from the homesickness, and you may discover a new passion while exploring this wonderful place.