The study is abroad, but the heart remains at home.

Canada is home to more than 800,000 international students – I know, that’s a lot. As you’ve probably noticed around the campus, Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber have a vibrant international community with a lot of students coming from abroad.

Studying abroad is both exciting and challenging. It’s a big step to leave your family, hometown and friends behind to pursue your dream of studying. It might sound a bit intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

Homesickness is a common challenge among students overseas. Being in a new country with a different culture and language can take a toll on your mental health and academic success especially if you are yet to make friends.

As an international student myself, I totally understand what you’re going through – dealing with homesickness is not easy. That’s why we’ve put together some helpful tips on how to cope with homesickness while studying abroad:

Maintain connection with loved ones back home

Bugs Bunny sitting on a chair and talking on the phone. Potentially someone from abroad.

It’s super important that you don’t neglect your relationship with your family and friends from back home. Make sure to plan your schedule wisely to set aside time to call or message them regularly. This can lift your mood up, especially when you’re not on your best day.

Consider planning a trip back home during your reading week or semester break. This can help you look forward to something, help you de-stress, and give you a fresh burst of energy for your classes and assignments.

Experience the new culture

Mr. Bean seems to be abroad in a red car taking pictures of his surroundings.

You’re in a new country and everything is different; the food, culture, music and people – but here’s the secret: you can turn these differences into awesome experiences! Embrace the cool aspects of this change and, of course, have some fun!

Get excited about the unique cultures, explore new placestry the local cuisine or join in on local festivals. It’s not just an amazing opportunity for you to meet new people, but it takes you a step closer to making the new country feel like your home.

Stay true to yourself

Jimmy Fallon saying "Please do not do that!"

Your routine will change, you can’t run away from that, but not everything has to change! Remember the stuff you loved doing back home? It’s all still part of you.

If you are a sports enthusiast? Keep up with your game. Do you play a musical instrument? Bring it along and keep making music. If you have activities that are important in your life, don’t give up on them. Having hobbies is super important for staying relaxed and enhancing your productivity in school.

Seek support

Simpsons characters hugging each other.

I totally get it, sometimes we just miss home, and it can easily overwhelm us. If you have a lot on your plate, don’t hesitate to lean on someone for support. Talk to a friend, reach out to a professor or connect with other international students – they’ve been through it all and can offer some great advice.

And if you need some extra help, here’s a list of Humber resources that you can turn to:

Remember, homesickness can affect anyone, it doesn’t matter where you are coming from. If you’re missing family and home, just remember that you’re not alone.

Embrace yourself in this new experience and make the best of it. And don’t forget, IGNITE is always here to support you!

Header photo courtesy of Ross Parmly from Unsplash.

Are you wondering how IGNITE can support you? Here is how we can elevate your post-secondary life.

Follow us on FacebookInstagram and TikTok for all things student life.