I’m finally free! I’ve met hundreds of super exciting people, announced our friendships as “official” via Facebook, sat through some eye-opening/closing lectures in my first few days of university. Life couldn’t get any better! Well, it could, I think to myself, if my best friends from home were here too. I wonder what they’re up to right now. My eyes suddenly feel prickly… vision is blurring… is that, a tear? What’s happening!? Is it…homesickness? Oh yes… Unlike others I think homesickness is a state of mind. I believe homesickness is an emotion which does not move away but keeps on growing in time. I started feeling homesick when I came to study in CQUniversity (not exactly right away but after a few days) and I struggled a lot in my studies as well, which is an obvious aspect as I am an international student from Bangladesh. Coming from a family with lots of people around me always, it felt so different being all by myself in Sydney. In my first couple of months in Sydney I faced lots of difficulties; homesickness was one of them. I have lots of friends both at university and outside university but still emptiness engulfed me. Those friends weren’t there with whom I could be ME! I kept myself busy with studies and lots of work. But it did not work and rather it was having a counter effect on me. So I saw my counselor in CQUniversity to share my problem.
My counselor helped me out by involving me in different activities around the campus. She also provided me some reading materials guides which I needed to follow on a regular basis. I had simple strategies of my own as I could not follow all of those. Among those guidelines three of them which I did were:
- Maintain a schedule –This helped to me to understand and plan what I needed to do on a specific time. Early to bed and early to rise early is not meant for everyone but my schedule helped me to separate my study, work and recreational activities. I took part in university activities as the international student ambassador made new friends.
- Exercise – Eating badly and being an inactive individual makes us tired and bring down mood. Running or walking outdoors is great to get fresh air and discover new places. I am a foodie so I was actually looking for new restaurants to try new cuisines around Sydney. You need to find out what you prefer whether it is food, sightseeing etc. Your body will be happier and you will feel much better.
- Talk to others –It is unhealthy for us to keep things to ourselves. As human nature we try to solve something by our own but two heads are better than one. You are not the only person who is experiencing this so it will help you understand what others have gone through. Homesickness almost happens to everyone and trying to ignore it will definitely not make it go away. You do not need to mope around all the time but it is perfectly OK to confide in some friends about feelings you are struggling with. Chances are they have experienced the same thing and you might overcome this by hearing their experiences.
Even though I miss my family and my best friends back home, I now have new beautiful moments and memories which I can share with them. Anxiety, tears, frustration and others go away when I think about what I’m doing now, especially when people at CQUniversity express how much they’re gonna miss me when graduate. Make the best of your study abroad experience and who knows by the time you return home you will be homesick for your study abroad country instead!