Written by Samreen M Hassan
For me, one of the hardest parts of studying abroad is being away from home and my loved ones. It’s not always the case with everyone, but most of us have sometimes felt alone and depressed in a foreign land with nobody to reach out to.
Initially, during the start of my studies, I was super excited and happy thinking about coming to a new foreign country, meeting new people and learning new things. But by the middle of the semester, I was going through a sort of mid-semester-life-crisis. The studies became tougher and with the increasing number of assignments and projects, there was practically no time to make friends. I live in Estonia, which is one of the coldest regions in Europe. So, during winters it’s completely dark by 3:30 pm and you see very few people outside. Naturally, you tend to feel more lonely and depressed. You are irritated and weary all the time. So, to avoid all these kinds of thoughts and behavioural changes, I opted for a few changes in my lifestyle.
1. Talk to your friends back in your home country, talk to your university friends, talk to the local people. Just talk to everybody. Think how much harder life would be if you never had Skype or Fb or messenger. So, make ample use of your resources. And talk about cheerful things; don’t crib about your studies or choices.
2. One may not like going for walks in the cold weather, but one should. Every day, just get out of your room and take a quick stroll outside to get that fresh cold air and release all your negative energies.
3. Go out for shopping. I don’t mean you have to shop for clothes and spend a lot, but you can go and shop for your daily necessities, like food.
4. Plan a get-together and cook with people who have the same food tastes because you don’t want to create more tension over deciding what to make and wondering if everybody will like it or not.
5. Take a lot of photos, make a scrapbook, and write something about your day. Trust me, it helps you to release a lot of negative thoughts. Or even more simple, print photos of your family, friends and your best memories and put it somewhere in your room where you can have a glance at them every day. Every time you see their cheerful faces, half of your homesickness will vanish, and you will feel stronger.
6. Plan to go home. Its required after a stage. Knowing that you will be back home to see familiar faces will give you the push to complete your semester. In this way, you can carry on with studies and overcome homesickness.
7. And lastly, keep reminding yourself why you are here in a foreign place and of your ambitions. You will get your energy boost back.
I hope you’ll find something interesting to follow in at least one of these points.
Stay positive and kind.