Talya Written by
from Turkey

MSc

Foundations of Clinical Psychology

Hello guys. Today I am going to talk about a common issue we all experienced: homesickness.

Homesickness can be a real struggle, whether you’re studying abroad for a year or volunteering for a couple of months in a different city or a country. We’ve all been there, trust me. This is my third time being in the UK, and I felt homesick the first time I’ve came here. So, I wanted to give you guys some advice from my own experience.

There is a lot of research out there showing that there is no difference between men and women in their experience of homesickness. This means anyone can experience it and it is totally normal. Research also shows up to 70% of new international students coming to study in the UK experience homesickness. It’s not about being away from home, it is about being away from what you’ve been used to seeing, tasting, feeling, and experiencing. You’ve been in a country since you knew yourself and now you’re putting everything you have in one suitcase and dragging yourself to another country, which is maybe on the other side of the world (who knows).

Travel and explore Bournemouth

A photo of Durdle Door taken by my housemate Sianagh Gallagher, which is 40 minutes away from where I live in Bournemouth

 

You’re in Bournemouth, a city with 7 miles of sandy beach and great venues to visit (i.e. Durdle DoorNew Forest). Make a daily plan, go visit the beach, eat fish and chips, put your feet into the -10°C, and breathe in the fresh air.

List the places you want to see while you’re in the UK

Me in Brecon Beacon, Wales.

You’ll have a lot of new friends, both locals and internationals. Point out the places you’d like to visit and take lots of ‘Instagram’ shots to share with friends and family.

Be a ‘wannabe Brit’ for a while

Try to enjoy the British culture, taste and cook their local food, ask and get to know their culture, observe their relationships. Speak more English than your native language, even try to pretend you have a British accent. Engage with British students and locals. Engage yourself both physically and mentally in Bournemouth. The more you’re into it, the more you’ll become familiar and feel at home.

 It is okay to preserve your culture and habits

Top: My Turkish bulgur wheat dish with chicken and salad; bottom: My version of partially-full English breakfast (I hate haggis).

 

No one can expect you to adapt immediately. Try adapting gradually. Cook meals with your traditional spices. Make the best of your new room by decorating it with family photos. Try to minimise your social media use. Instead of frequent Skype calls, send postcards to family and friends and ask for them to send you too. Check your timetable and plan trips ahead to set a date to look forward to.

Don’t forget about yourself

Most importantly, be mindful about mental health. Maintain a self-care routine. This won’t always be lighting Yankee candles and having bubble baths but whenever you feel anxious or overwhelmed, notice the feeling, acknowledge it and set yourself a ‘me time’. Instead of focusing on the past or the future, try focusing on here and now. You’re valuable and do what makes you happy. If you think homesickness is interrupting with both day-to-day and academic life, you can always contact Student Wellbeing.

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