The First Year Experience : Managing homesickness

The First Year Experience : Managing homesickness

Hi everyone! My name is Yaashna and I recently completed my first year of college at NYU! It’s been an extremely exciting endeavor, but somewhat intimidating at the start. If you’re still in school and anxious about what it’s like as an international student abroad, surrounded with completely new people and immersed in a culture you barely know, let me help you out! Welcome to my series ‘The First Year Experience’ which covers everything that you need to know before going for your first year abroad.

When you first go abroad, there’s a lot of excitement, you’re pumped up to explore this new location, new monuments, and all the trendy hotspots. You’re basically a tourist during this time period. The only difference is that you don’t get to go home after one week of exploring, and when the adrenaline and thrill wear off you’re left with the feeling of unbearable homesickness. The first thing to know, it’s completely normal. Everyone goes through that no matter how happy and well-adjusted they seem. I know people who lived an hour away from their house feel this way, so you, someone who moved halfway across the world, is bound to feel that way. Just know that these feelings are valid, and it’s okay if they don’t go away after your first week or month or even year.

In grade 11, I was sent off to a boarding school, somewhere with no communication to home for the first two weeks, and then 16 minutes of calling a week. No social media, no technology, no way to call home or friends if you’re in distress. Relative to that, going to the US felt like a breeze. Coming out of that boarding school made me very grateful for Skype and zoom and WhatsApp. Take comfort in the fact that your loved ones are only a call away. The time difference is massive but manageable, I promise.

It’s okay to feel homesick, but don’t stay huddled up in your room talking to people from home. I’ve seen people cling to the past, but that doesn’t help when you’ve got a new future ahead of you. I’m not discouraging you from staying in contact with your old friends, but don’t let that stop you from making new ones. The best way to get over homesickness is to make this new place, at least a little, your new home. If you want tips on putting yourself out there, check out my first blog in this series which talks about making new friends!

Moving across the world is hard, and it’s understandable. I have to admit, there were times, especially when I didn’t have any friends when I sat in my dorm and cried. This feeling of homesickness is especially exasperated when you’re going through hard and stressful times, but over time you’ll build your support system, people who you can trust and confide in, and at those moments you might realize it’s not as bad as you thought. You might even start falling in love with this new place! I know I did. It’s become like a second place I can call home, and people who are like my family now. It’ll get easier, and when it does, you’ll not want to come back 😉



This blog has been contributed by Yaashna Gupta, an alumna of PPRO EED and now a student of New York University.

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