How to Overcome Homesickness

By Jennifer Morrissey, Director of International Recruitment

The first weeks of school have passed with the excitement that comes with a fresh start and a new experience. For international students, it is nothing short of a dream — every day there’s something new! But what happens when life settles down and one’s mind drifts to home... family, home-cooked meals, your own room? Homesickness can creep up on anyone who ventures away from the security of what they know. It can be painful, even debilitating. But let me tell you from my own experience that homesickness, when overcome, is a lesson in life that will leave you stronger and able to travel anywhere in our world with the knowledge that home, and all of its comforts, will be there when you return. (It's why I'm such a big believer in young people traveling abroad.)

Upon graduation from high school, I spent a year in Europe on my own. It felt like such an exotic plan that I did not give such a lengthy separation from my friends and family a second thought. However, once overseas, I found myself among strangers, muddling through new languages and cultures to the point of exhaustion. I was tired, lonely, and homesick. My mom would console me over the phone with promises of a trip home for the holidays, but as each month passed, I came to realize that my parents intended for me to stay and mature and grow stronger. It was difficult in the beginning — perhaps the most trying time of my young life — but as my year abroad neared its end, I realized that I didn’t really need to go home. In fact, I wouldn't have minded staying longer! My year abroad was life-changing in many ways, especially due to this newly found confidence and independence. To this day, I have a strength in my heart that came from that experience, the strength to venture away and know that home will be there when I get back. 

Fortunately, at Solebury School, it's easy to keep busy and find mentors and friends to lean on when you're feeling down. That said, here are my tips for overcoming homesickness, wherever you may be:

  • Remember that your current situation is only temporary
  • Get enough rest
  • Eat healthy meals and stay hydrated
  • Find a mentor at school who will listen to your concerns 
  • Limit time communicating with family and friends back home (it can lead to wallowing and missing out on new experiences)
  • Stay busy with exercise, activities, and exploring your new environment
  • When feeling blue, surround yourself with friends

Take care,

Jen