Written by Percy Alao

While it is true that I have been abroad for over a year as an international student, it does not mean that I do not get homesick. As a matter of fact, I believe this is a feeling that gets even stronger as you stay longer, especially when it is triggered by events that you are used to doing back home. Especially mostly if it is something you do with your family or loved ones.

The just-concluded festive period is a very good example. I remember how, on Christmas, I woke up and felt lonely. It was quiet, and I was alone. Fortunately, a friend had previously invited me to an event organised by her fellowship and I did not have to think twice about going. Otherwise, it would have been a situation where I would have started to think how it would have been back home, etc.

For me, the most effective way to overcome homesickness is to spend free time with friends and people whom you have come to become attached to or familiar with. There is no doubt that sometimes I like to be alone, but I believe most times I feel much happier when I am around people that understand how it feels to be away from family.

Since this is a very international school (Tallinn University of Technology), I have made many international friends. Of course, I also have local friends, and we all spend time together: after all, we need someone who really knows where the fun places are 😉.

In addition to this, other ways I have discovered to overcome homesickness are:

  • Taking walks. While it is often cold and snowy, I do enjoy the sound of snow popping under my feet and how my mind is focused on the “Oh, I hope I don’t slip and fall” side of things.
  • Cinema. I have always enjoyed watching movies, and doing this with friends is even more fun and a great way to make you forget almost any worry.
  • It doesn’t necessarily mean I have to buy something, but you can be that friend who everyone wants to go shopping with because you tend to help others make the right choice. As a matter of fact, I am even considering to start charging for my services… On my part, most times I’m window shopping and, well, I wait for the sales period to do some real buying. To be honest, buying something new, especially shoes, gives me a happy feeling, I forget every other type of negative feeling while doing it.
  • Talking to international students (taking Student Interviews). I have come to realise that the time I have spent talking to international students about their study experience helps me overcome homesickness. This is because, as an international student, I see that this other person feels the same emotions and is going through something similar. This is even more so when the student is abroad for the first time.

As a parting gift, you can see attached some recent pictures, depicting how I have spent my time lately and what I tend to do in Tallinn😊.