Berger Institute News / Trending on the Web / What I've Learned

Coping with Homesickness

I took a plane from Chennai, India armed with two carry-on suitcases and a VISA that confirmed my attendance to Claremont McKenna College. I landed in a country where the culture was foreign, interactions were different, and accents were alien.

I was fortunate to have my parents to ease my transition but that safety net was lost on day two of orientation, when they headed back to India. Orientation week was a blur of new faces, activities, and discussions where I had little time to breathe. But, as soon as it ended, I was lost.

In other words, I was homesick.

“Homesickness is not merely missing a house; rather, it encapsulates a wide variety of emotions, feelings, and warmth that one associates with a place,” says clinical psychologist Josh Kaplow [and make his name a link to the article]

I agree. I missed the humidity, sounds of traffic, my native language, my extended family, and the warmth of people that I grew up with. As an incoming international freshman, this was heightened. I experienced anxiety, difficulty with communication, and even a loss in appetite – all common symptoms of homesickness.

As a sophomore,  I no longer experience homesickness. I do miss my parents; however, I am lucky to have found my own niche at CMC . For those who continue to struggle with homesickness, here are a few helpful tips that helped me get through it:

  1. It is important to call your parents but not too often. It’s always good to touch base with them but you need to establish your independence, too
  2. Don’ot be afraid of seeking help.Talk to a counselor or a friend if you are unable to cope or are experiencing any kind of physical or psychological difficulties
  3. Try to get involved on campus. This will allow you to immerse yourself into the campus culture while also getting to meet new people
  4. Put yourself out there, talk to people, and always try to maintain a positive attitude.

There is no easy fix to homesickness. A tendency to miss home is natural feeling. But, by being patient, positive, and being willing to seek help, you might find yourself slowly adapting to a new environment.

It’s hard to completely replace a home, but it’s not impossible to find your space in a new city, country, college, or continent.

 

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