Moving to Australia will seem like a thrilling adventure initially. Whether you’re an international student for good, the anticipation of meeting new people and living a brand new lifestyle is part of the excitement. Then you arrive and it is all so new and fresh. Wow, what a wonderful new world of opportunity! Until… homesickness starts to kick in.
Homesickness is part of living in Australia and it will hit you no matter how hard you try. The trick is to not let it overpower you. Just be patient and remember that everything will improve in time.
Homesickness is normal
The first and most important thing you need to know is that homesickness is normal. Homesickness is part of living in Australia and it will hit you no matter how hard you try. Think about how you spent all your life in your home country and now you have to move to somewhere else that may be completely foreign. Yes, feeling homesick is very normal.
When you first arrive in Australia, you may be busy and eager to explore the country. You may just want to see, taste, visit everything new around you. It is this busyness that keeps homesickness away from your consciousness. Metaphorically, it is like a honeymoon period. When you first get married, it is all so exciting and wonderful until ‘real life’ takes over and there is an adjustment period. With homesickness, it kind of means the ‘honeymoon’ is over and you’re now in the adjustment period. The trick is to not let homesickness overpower you because once you get through it, you will feel more at home than ever before. Remember, patience is key.
6 Ways to deal with homesickness
Your motivation in overcoming homesickness should be remembering that it is just a temporary phase. Here are some tips that may help to get over your homesickness:
- Let your emotions out
Express your feelings. If you need to cry to let it out, go for it. Have a good cry from time to time. Crying is our body’s way of releasing emotions. If it helps to look at pictures of home, eat your favourite food from home, or talk with your loved ones that you left behind, do it. Don’t hold back.
- Remember what you came for
Try to think about your reason of moving to Australia. After all, you won’t be moving to a foreign country without an important reason. Whether it’s your studies, work, or living a new life, keep that in mind. A lot of people leave their home countries and come to Australia for “a better life” in all of those aspects. When you are dealing with homesickness, remind yourself again why you moved. Think about why Australia was so special to you that you wanted to move here.
- Bring a piece of home to Australia
Fill your living space with reminders of home. Just because you moved to Australia, does not mean you have to completely give up everything from your home country. You can hang pictures of your family, cook your favorite food, watch your favorite movie, or listen to your favorite artist from back home. You can also celebrate the holidays in your home country In Australia, many cultural and religious festivities are celebrated. Chinese New Year, Holi, Diwali, St Patrick’s Day, Ramadan, Paniyiri and Oktoberfest are all examples of special international celebrations. You can try to check out your home country’s consulate as they usually run special events on local holidays.
- Go out!
When you feel homesick, try to go out and engage in social activities. Eventually, meeting new people outside can help to distract from your homesickness rather than just staying in. Plan more activities that make Australia feel more like home. Revisit how you felt when you first arrived here. Did you really see everything you wanted back then? Make a list of things you want to do and places you want to visit. After all, meeting new people and immersing yourself more with your surroundings will make it feel more like your home.
- Utilise student support
If you are an international student, it is more likely that your educational institution offers student support services which include counselling. In counselling sessions, you can talk with a counsellor about your personal matter such as homesickness in a confidential manner. Don’t worry, counsellors are trained to listen to your homesickness and to help you choose strategies to overcome them. Yes, you’re in good hands!
- Congratulate yourself for your courage.
Yes, you made a huge move! It takes courage and patience to move to a brand new place and you did it. Remind yourself of how far you have already come. There might be some days where you might feel like you are living on a completely different planet, but there are sure to be other days when it feels like you wake up in the morning and feel like you’re at home.
Homesickness is just a reminder that you are where you chose to be. It is a just state of mind and it does not always mean that you need to go home. Keep in mind that it is a temporary phase and it will pass. Don’t forget to be nice to yourself when you’re feeling homesick!