Homesickness is a drag and just about everyone experiences it at some point. I completely expected to be homesick when I moved to England but I’m surprised at HOW homesick I was when I first moved here. The first month was the hardest for me, in which there were many times I just wanted to pack up and go home.
It’s a lot better now. I’m not nearly as homesick as I was. Although the sadness still comes in waves. Especially as I’m laying in bed at night trying to fall asleep. It’s at that time when it is the hardest to ignore my own mind. But a lot has helped in keeping the homesickness at bay so I thought I would make a list of those things to one) remind myself of what is awesome here, and two) help anyone else who stumbles across this entry.
- I’ve made great friends. Especially my room mates who are super awesome and nice. They make where I live now feel like a real home. I have people that wish me a good day when I leave for school, ask me how my day went when I come home and tell me good night when I amble off to bed. THIS is probably THE main thing to keep homesickness away because this is what a home is. The best thing anyone can do to help settle into their new life away from home is to make their new house a home, and better yet to have room mates that can become your surrogate family.
- Make new friends. As many new friends as you can. I don’t make new friends easily or quickly. The first few months at school were hard as I didn’t know anyone. I felt awkward and alone most of the time. But I have a small group of people that I get along with at school (it has really helped that my supervisor and his postdoc are finally at the school) and make my day at school so much more fun. Going to school/work is a chore if you don’t have people around who you can chat with or eat lunch with. It’s also nice when you make these friends because eventually you’ll go to parties/have a night on the town which really lets you relax.
- Routine. Routine may SEEM boring but is actually rather helpful. If you have a routine then things get a chance to become normal. This is good if you are living in a whole new place where the new and different can be overwhelming and tiring after a while. Now that I am more familiar with the town I live in and the school I’m attending, I feel much more comfortable and feel like I belong.
- Hobbies and fun activities. Hobbies are great. I love to go to the library and pick up a new book (reading is totally a hobby!). I like going to the gym and trying a new class. Anything outside of school/work that is fun helps you relax and enjoy your time away from home. You do want your new town/school/country to become your home. It’s okay if things become routine and humdrum, just another day. But it is good to remember that you’re also there to experience things you never have before.
- For those in school, work with people you like. Especially graduate students. I cannot stress enough the importance of liking your supervisor. You want to pick a lab not only on the research there that you find interesting but also that you can work with your supervisor happily. Someone you relate to and like is much easier to work with and it makes it much easier to ask for help if you’re more comfortable with them. I’m not saying I’m always good at going to talk to my supervisor like I should be but it’s good to have the option.
- If you’re homesick in another country, celebrate the holidays of not only your new country but your old one as well. This last Saturday I had a massive Thanksgiving party where I invited all my new friends. This made me feel nice. I love Thanksgiving, it’s an important holiday to my family. I would have been really depressed if I hadn’t got to have a Thanksgiving. Enjoy your own traditions just as much as the traditions of your new country.
That’s all I have for now I think. And I promise to try to be better about updating this site. I’m horrible about remembering/thinking up a topic to talk about. I need to write about what I’ve been up to here in England than I have been.