So you’re studying in Australia, and you’re having the time of your life, enjoying your classes, meeting the locals, exploring the country, and generally minding your own business when all of a sudden it hits you: you miss home. Maybe it’s because you pass a stranger on the street who reminds you of your best friend; perhaps you feel poignantly absent from a yearly family tradition like Thanksgiving; or it might just be that you’re craving Cheez-Its and can’t seem to find them ANYWHERE. Before you know it, you’re feeling nostalgic and mopey. What should you do to battle the study abroad blues? Check out the following tips:
1. Bring lots of photos from home
Packing photos from home in your suitcase when you head over is always a good idea. Pictures of your family, friends, and familiar places can help soothe or comfort you when you’re homesick. Keep them handy or tack them up on your walls so that you can create a space that is like home away from home.
2. Video chat with friends and family
Technology is pretty awesome. If you have access to a computer and the Internet, there are several programs available for you to video chat with friends and family back home. Both Skype and Google Video Chat are free to use and allow you to see as well as hear your loved ones while you call.
3. Explore your surroundings
Calling home is great to reconnect with your buddies — but don’t spend all of your time on the computer! You’re in a new place experiencing a multitude of new things. If homesickness is getting you down, a change of scenery may change your mood. Go on a weekend trip away or visit a famous site near your university to pep yourself up.
4. Cook your favorite dish and share it with Aussie friends
If you’re hankering for a taste of home, make use of the kitchen and whip it up yourself! Sure, it may not taste exactly like your mama’s cooking, but it’s probably close enough. Your culinary exploits will not only squash your homesick bug, but will also let you share authentically North American culture with your new Aussie friends. The same goes for teaching your Aussie friends how to play American Football or introducing them to other North American traditions.
5. Share your experience with loved ones you miss
Part of being homesick is wishing that your favourite people could experience the same really-super-awesome-mind-blowingly-cool stuff that you’re doing. If video chatting doesn’t feel like enough, send packages and letters home (who doesn’t want to get Tim Tams in the mail?) or blog about your study abroad adventures. You’ll feel like your friends and family are right there with you!
In the end, homesickness is what you make of it. Keeping a positive attitude goes a long way. And while it’s totally okay to be sad and miss home, you must also remember to enjoy Australia while you’re there!
You can contact students who have studied Down Under (and survived homesickness!) and ask them questions about study abroad in Australia on our website here.