This post is also available in: French
Regardless of the reason why you moved abroad, getting accustomed to a new environment is complicated. Travelling for lengthy periods of time can be very hard on a student, especially if this is their first experience of living alone.
In addition to this, students are expected to work on their academic performance and get adjusted to the new location and culture only few days after arrival. Even though the experience is known as the most thrilling and educational opportunity, loneliness when studying abroad is a common challenge of every student who is forced out of their regular routine.
Before you even start studying abroad, consider these loneliness reduction tricks. They will allow you to enjoy your new adventure!
Visit the most popular attractions and cites the moment you get on the new location. Act like a tourist – your goal is to get to know the city as if you were on vacation. This will allow you to grasp the culture smoothly, without feeling the need to learn everything all at once.
Then, once you pinpoint your favourite places, you can enjoy these whenever you want. Starting from a small coffee shop around the block or a park that reminds you of the one you have back home, such places will help you adjust faster and create a new routine.
Once you have explored the city, you will know what it offers. In order to get used to what the culture in your new city is like, you need to expose yourself to it.
How? It’s very simple – try out different activities and get exposed to your surroundings. Studying abroad allows you to meet different people and find those with whom you share the same ideals and understandings. Remember: you don’t have to be a foreigner in the your new city! If you socialise with people of the local culture, you can get exposed to the culture much faster than you think.
If you’ve already met new people, visit the places they visit and learn how people live in this area. Go out with your new friends, visit famous cafés, bars (and beaches, if you’re lucky), try new foods, learn where the next interesting events are, and actually attend them. Simply learn what your new community does and follow their lead. Once you get to know your new community, you’ll easily be able to adjust to it.
Even though you will be trying to assimilate the new culture, you must understand that it’s completely normal to feel homesick when you move to a new place. However, this doesn’t mean you need to forget about your friends back home or limit your connection to the family.
Staying connected to friends and family is important and can help you with the adjustment process. Stay in touch with people back home and talk to them about your experiences and feelings in the new place.
If you’re far from your usual support network, you’ll surely feel lonely. But just because the people you rely on are no longer at a short walking distance, this doesn’t mean you can’t find a second support network in your new country.
Stay in touch with your friends and family, but make sure to make close local friends, too. These people will help you create your new routine and adjust to the new culture. In addition, they can be a sympathetic ear in days where you feel homesick.
Making friends is also a great way to get involved in the local culture. Therefore, you should never restrict your social life to other students who also moved to your new city.
When thrown into drastic changes, people immediately seek the regular days back home. The truth is, you can’t bring your room or your house abroad with you, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t make your new place feel like home.
In order to turn your new space into a comfortable one, you don’t need to bring furniture and recreate your room; all you need to take with you are small details that remind you of home and work on turning the rest of your space into a place you’re comfortable going back to every day.
Improvise and bring some comfort with you. Meet the neighbours and do everything you can to turn your new place into a familiar location that makes you feel more at home.
Loneliness is a real struggle, but you shouldn’t let it hold you back. You can’t adjust to a new country and culture immediately, but you can take baby steps into rushing this process and preventing homesickness from bringing you down.
Remember that loneliness is a normal reaction to moving abroad. It’s okay to miss home, but if you follow these tips and implement some strategies that allow you to adjust, you can make your study abroad experience an unforgettable memory!
About the author: Olivia is a writer for AussieWritings and a journalist who always tries to see the bright side of things. She likes to inspire people in her writings and enjoy a mysterious beauty of twilight. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
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Are you afraid of loneliness when studying abroad? Have you felt it before? Let us know in the comments. And remember: if you need student accommodation you’ll find the perfect student home on Uniplaces.
This post is also available in: French