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Helpful advice for international students: When homesickness is a little further away

Credit: JEN DOEDE

Students feeling homesick can meet other students through clubs and services offered at Fanshawe.


Wey Lynn Liong | The Phoenix | Opinion | September 18th, 2017



Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
British Columbia/Okanagan-Kelowna (CUP) — Transitioning from high school to university is already a big and challenging step, but as an international student, this step suddenly seems so much bigger. With so much to adapt to by being in a new country and university, the feeling can get a little overwhelming. Of course with time, everything will get easier, but here’s a little guide to help speed up the process!

I have always considered myself quite a foodie; I am open to eating all different kinds of foods, however, there is nothing like food from home. For me, home is Malaysia. There are a variety of restaurants in Kelowna, but the choices are limited when it comes to Malaysian food. Although this was hard as I missed the food I was used to, it gave me the chance to get out and taste and learn different kinds of foods, which helped distract me from missing home. There were times during my first year when I constantly craved food from home. I overcame that by cooking with friends. Not only did that help me improve my cooking skills, it also made another pathway for communication with my family, as I got to ask them for recipes and update them about my life.

“I worried about being the only weird one for feeling such homesickness, but knowing that there were friends I could talk to about my feelings, made me feel less lonely and some became as close as family.”

At times, the distance can get the best of my emotions and that’s when the homesickness really hits. I find that the best thing to do when this happens is to stay busy. Look for a hobby around campus, or even a part-time job. I joined a dance team, and that helped a lot with time-management and staying fit. Being able to find a regular hobby made time pass a little quicker and gave me less time to overthink things that were stressing me out.

Finding the right group of friends is another way to help with the homesickness. If you’re too shy to greet someone when walking past the hallways, just a smile will do. A smile goes a long way! As I lived in residence my first year, having the feeling of being in a community itself made me feel comfortable and at home. I worried about being the only weird one for feeling such homesickness, but knowing that there were friends I could talk to about my feelings made me feel less lonely, and some became as close as family to me.

All in all, making the best out of a situation is always an option to strongly consider. As an international student, there is no doubt that we will miss our families back home, but being around the right people and doing the right activities can help ease the pain and help make university abroad a great experience.