by Tiffany P. Monorom
No matter how amazing Australia is, there is no place like home.
Just when you finally feel like you have settled down in a new place and have started a new life, that uneasy feeling of missing home begins to creep on you. It does not matter whether you are a first year or in your final year, anyone can feel homesick.
I moved away from home three years ago and only visit home once every year. I understand what it feels like and had to overcome certain challenges in order to prevent it from getting in the way of my uni experience.
It is absolutely natural to feel homesick when living at a new place and there are ways to overcome it. Everybody deals with homesickness differently, but these are my personal tips and tricks to try when you start missing home.
Keep yourself busy
Whether it is working part-time, indulging yourself in a new hobby or joining uni clubs and societies, keeping yourself busy can take your mind off missing home.
ANU CareerHub, Seek and Indeed are among the most popular job sites for students looking for casual and part-time employment. ANUSA also organises the Skill-Up Program for those interested in hospitality work but do not have adequate skills and experiences.
Joining clubs and societies is one of the ways you can meet new people and engage with a much broader uni community. If you are unsure what clubs and societies there are on campus, you can check out this clubs list associated with ANUSA.
In my first year at ANU, I was too occupied with trying to achieve good marks that I did not bother putting myself out there and trying new things, or even looking for a job. Although I did receive Ds and HDs in the end, there wasn’t really anything exciting to look forward to each day and I still ended up with the depressing thoughts of homesickness.
I wasn’t fully satisfied with my overall uni experience but it wasn’t too late for me to realised that going to uni abroad is not just about the academic experience, it is about the culture, the people and so much more. On top of having a happier lifestyle, you also have something to add to your resume!
Get in contact with those from the same background
Meeting other students from the same cultural background may help you feel a bit closer to home. Knowing that there is someone else going through the same thing as you are, means that you can share your experiences or struggles with them and maybe help one another in overcoming this homesickness phenomenon.
Once again, check the ANUSA’s clubs list as it generally contains student association from specific country such as Indian Students’ Association and Thai Association. They generally organise social and cultural activities amongst members of the ANU community.
Share your food
Food brings people together, because who doesn’t love food, right? This strategy is my personal favourite because, while you get to share traditional food from your home country with your friends, you’ll also get to eat food from their country and enjoy great company at the same time. It’s a win-win situation!
For me, I did not know how to cook as I barely cooked at all back home (mum’s cooking is the best!). After a while, I started to miss my mum’s homemade dishes so I eventually called her and ask for the recipes. It wasn’t easy at first, but I finally got the hang of it after many fail attempts.
Preparing your favourite meal on weekends or stressful days will make you feel more at home.
Adapt to the new environment
I have to admit, this is easier said than done.
Humans are natural-born professionals in adaptation but it takes time and patience to fully achieve this. The first step would be to accept that it is okay to feel homesick at times. Once you’ve realised this, you can start stepping out of your comfort zone and experiencing the new environment that you’re currently living in.
Uni students have at least 3 years studying in Australia, so might as well try to learn and adapt to their culture and society. My tip would be to observe the behaviour of local people and the way they speak. If you feel uncomfortable in that situation or you feel like you’re creeping people out by staring at them, try watching day time television. Maybe you can catch some spoken slangs or any specific etiquettes.
If after trying these tricks, you still struggle to cope with homesickness, keep in mind that there are professionals that you can talk to at uni. Read this bLAWg to find out more about other resources and services that are available to help you.