Yasmine Payne graduated from Aston University in July 2017 with a BSc in Business, Management and Public Policy and now works in the Careers+Placements team as International Projects Coordinator. During her undergraduate degree, she completed a study abroad placement in Spain at Universidad de Sevilla. Read through her tips for coping with the struggles of homesickness whilst you’re on your international placement.
Homesickness is natural! Do not worry – of course, you will feel sad to be returning to your placement after spending the Christmas period with your loved ones. However, everyone is in the same boat and there are loads of things you can do to combat homesickness.
Join clubs and societies for international exchange students – not only will you meet new people, but you’ll be too busy having fun to feel homesick.
Take trips with your roommates and explore the countries around you, so when you do return to the UK you will be able to tell everyone your memories of visiting new places.
Skype your friends and family so you have a time in the day where you talk to your loved ones and most importantly have fun!
This year abroad is a time for you to learn new things, realise what you are good at and make friends for life!
Make a photo album!
When I went abroad and started to feel homesick, I bought myself a nice photo album and printed off all the pictures I had taken so far. I made sure I kept tickets from football matches I had seen, trains I caught when I visited new cities and plane tickets when I travelled to new countries. Even menus from some of my favourite restaurants!
Putting things down onto paper helps you look at all you have achieved and will make you happy to see all the memories you have created so far! Plus this is a great way to show your creative side and when you return home after your placement you will be able to show your loved ones who will be eager to know all about your journey!
Moving to a new country is hard and the fact you have made it this far is an achievement in itself so you should be proud!
A new country comes with many challenges and adjusting to a new culture can have its drawbacks, but if you remain open-minded and eager to learn new things you will have a much more enjoyable experience – you would be surprised how much you can learn about yourself when immersed in a new culture! Believe me, there will be people who want to learn about you just the same way you want to learn about them.
Learn the language!
When moving to a new country, you may also encounter a language you most likely have never spoken before!
When I felt homesick because no one spoke English, I found a Spanish speaking class and this way I met new people who were also on a placement abroad – this also helped me feel more comfortable in my new country as I could speak to people in their language. I was able to make new friends and we would socialise together outside of class. This allowed me to have something fun to add to my daily schedule outside of studying.
Also, having international experience and the ability to speak more than one language makes you look great to employers! Plus when you do move back to the UK, you can show off your new language skills to your family and friends who will be impressed!
I hope these tips have helped and I wish you all the best with your international placement!