By Megan Bateman, Indiana University Bloomington, USA
At the current time of writing, I am exactly 2 and a half months into my year abroad in the USA. I can say it has absolutely flown by, which is why I have only just found the time to write my first blog post on Manchester On The Road! Whilst I have already experienced many different things here like my first American football game (separate blog post coming for that!), American culture and nightlife, there have been times when I have found myself really missing Manchester.
Personally, a lot of my homesickness came from the feeling that I never really appreciated Manchester for what an amazing city it is until I removed myself from it completely and had a year to countdown until I was back. I think it would be safe to say that most of the study abroad students will also experience homesickness, and it is completely normal and understandable. In the first few weeks abroad, you try to navigate your way through different tasks, such as making friends, navigating your way through a new culture, getting used to a new style of learning, and adjusting to how many people will ask you to repeat a word in your British accent (I’m not sure if this is just an American thing, or if we are all a victim of it). Missing your friends, family, and your regular routine is an obvious damper on an already challenging experience, so I’ve compiled a few things that helped me manage my homesickness and help me accustomed to my new life abroad:
1. Remember your friends and family are just a phone call away.
I struggled with feeling like I was a million miles away from my friends in my first few weeks, especially when my friendship group got back to Manchester to start their 3rd year together. Luckily, FaceTime is my best friend and staying in contact with everyone back home is so much easier than I thought. Once you establish a routine, get used to changes in time zones and settle in, FaceTiming friends and family becomes a highlight of the week because you will have so much to fill them in on! No one is too far away.
2. FOMO is normal and manageable.
Honestly, the feeling of FOMO is a hard one to shake off, especially if you’re in the same time zone as I am which means I am typically in a lecture at the same time as my friends are getting ready to go out back home! Torturous. It is important to remember how much of an amazing life experience a study abroad program is – trust me, your friends back home would swap places with you if they were able to! Manchester, your hometown, or wherever that is causing you the symptom of FOMO will always be there when you get back home.
3. Talk to other international students at your partner university– we are all in the same boat.
Although other students who are studying abroad will be from different countries around the world, it is so important to remember that all of you are in the same position and will, most likely, be feeling the same way. I found it so helpful to speak to my other international friends just to give me peace of mind it wasn’t just me who was feeling this way. It is normal to see everyone around you having the best time and feel a little worried, but everybody is feeling the same.
4. Have a cup of tea (or anything that reminds you of home – I would say marmite but it is $13 here for a small jar and not even homesickness can justify that).
Sorry to those who don’t like tea, or marmite. I have never felt such happiness for a cup of tea in my life compared to when I am missing home just that little bit.
(Side note, if you love your tea and you’re coming to the US, bring your own teabags. Unless you like Lipton.)
I hope this small list can be beneficial to some of you! Remember that we will all look back on this experience when we are older and will be so glad that we did it. Good luck!!
One thought on “Challenges of Homesickness, by an English living in America”
Amazing Megan – Know that I am so proud of your confidence & no fear attitude that will carry you far in life. Enjoy this blessed opportunity little one x