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MPBE Student Voice



Reflections on homesickness

By Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, on 12 September 2022

Girl sitting on her own looking at her phone
Adapting to a whole new country with different people, traditions and potentially a different language can be pretty daunting; a lot of young people are faced with such a challenge when they go to study abroad. Some of them are hit with a wave of anxious emotions, while others approach it with a much more positive thinking.

When settling into a new country, it’s vital to think positively, things have a way of working themselves out. Experiencing a new culture can be very beneficial and that alone can be used as an encouragement to be more positive about such a change. Change is generally inevitable in life and taking the initiative to move to another country is a substantial change! But this challenge helps us to grow, maybe more than we will ever grow throughout the rest of our lives and that should be something to look forward to. It is important to understand that while being fearful of the unknown, jumping straight in when you start feeling scared is the way to go about it.

At some point or another, most of us have missed home. Entering university is a huge step to adulthood and independence and no matter how much fun it seems, everyone experiences homesickness at some point. Missing home is a very normal human reaction; missing your house, your family, your pets and what not. Learning how to cope with such a feeling when you are unable to go back can provide you with a valuable experience that helps you cope with other transitions later in life. It would be very beneficial if you think of it as an exciting opportunity to develop new interests in another environment other than your home.

Although staying in touch with people from home is very important it might be better to contact them less frequently; constant communication can reinforce a person’s sense of homesickness whereas contacting them less frequently than usual may help reduce those feelings. It might be a good idea to encourage your family members to write or email you on a semi-regular basis, perhaps once a week.

People need people so, try to be friendly and create new friendships along the way. Making new friends does not mean forgetting your old friends. It simply means you are adapting to new environments with people who come from different backgrounds than yours and that is fascinating! On the other hand, we are human and not every day is sunshine and rainbows, so it’s a nice thing to talk to people when you feel you need some help. Even if you are an introverted person, or an anxious person try to get out of your comfort zone to make friends.

It’s important to accept that at some point, you will feel homesick. Pushing emotions for too long can be overwhelming. It is a good idea to plan some time to reflect on those emotions and feelings as well as accepting them. The only way to move forward is to accept your emotions and feelings. Taking charge of your feelings in this way often helps to work through them. The department has a dedicated Student Advisor, if you are feeling overwhelmed.

People tend to grow when they move to another country, new patterns develop gradually with time and life can be unexpected. You may experience emotional distress from time to time, but the sun tastes so much better after a storm; university can help you become more positive as you can clearly see how independent you have become.

There is no recipe to settling into a new country but going with the correct mindset can help you to adapt and make the best out of it.

This blog was written by Elio, Biomedical Engineering

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