Congratulations guys, we’ve made it through another academic year. During this time I tend to get mixed feelings about returning home. Although throughout the year I usually miss home terribly, when it’s actually time to leave I feel somewhat hesitant. After all, university changes you in many ways and returning home as a different person can feel a little weird. So this blogpost is dedicated to how to deal with a change of environment, regardless of it’s a place that is already familiar to you or whether it’s going to a place you know nothing about.
Make the decision to actively try and explore more. Sitting at home when you’re feeling upset tends to only worsen the feeling, so try to go out and see an area that you have not been to before. Although you may be missing home, you will never know what a new place has to offer unless you intentionally decide to go out and see for yourself. During my year abroad I came across countless students who were terribly homesick and kept on complaining about the things that their new surroundings were missing. Yet, they somehow never managed to recognize the countering view that their new environment inevitably has things to offer that their home country does not. So go out and try to find what those things are! You might surprise yourself.
Likewise, upon returning home after an exciting year at university, if you start to feel like home is boring, try going out and looking for things you never noticed before. It’s so easy to take home for granted. After all, you probably grew up with it and it’s nothing special anymore. But think of all the tourists that come to visit your home country – they must see something in it, right? Try being more aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the small things that you won’t find anywhere else.
Keeping busy helps me the most both when I’m homesick or stuck in wanderlust. There’s no point in wishing to be elsewhere when it’s not possible right then and there. So what’s the point, right? We all have those moments of wishing to be elsewhere and sometimes it feels good to just let it all out when feeling sad. But after that, you can either continue to be upset about it or try doing something to change it. If you can’t go to wherever it is your heart desires to be, try making the most out of where you are. Catch up with old friends or go out and make new ones and most importantly, push yourself out of your comfort zone. From my experience, that helps me avert my attention to new things the best.
In the end, realize that it’s not a bad thing to be homesick or craving to be back in the exciting university environment. It’s a blessing to have a place that you miss and that you feel comfortable in. Instead of feeling sad about it, see the flip side of things and just look forward to being where you long to be. But until then, make the most out of where you are!
Bluinse Thomas is a Law with International Relations student, currently on a study abroad programme at the University of Hong Kong.