Nearly 1 million international students — a record, and more than will study in any other country — are beginning a new academic year at U.S. colleges.
You might be one of them. You’ll make new friends but even so, you probably will feel homesick at some point this semester.
The word “homesick” was originally used by the Swiss to mean “a longing for the mountains.” Whether you miss mountains or beaches, your mom or your boyfriend/girlfriend, college counselors offer these tips to overcome your homesickness:
1. Make a list of things you want to do
… and start checking off items. When else will you get the opportunity to visit a new city, try different foods, or visit top U.S. destinations or offbeat small towns? Even if you have to force yourself at first, make the most of the time you have in a new place by being adventurous. You’ll feel better if you do.
2. Log off social media
… even if you fall behind on events back home. The Internet has created a fear of missing out (FOMO). Catching up with your friends at home won’t help you enjoy your new surroundings. Face-to-face connections on your new campus will get you past any initial feelings of isolation.
3. Don’t be afraid to tell others
… and you can start with your new American roommate or acquaintance. It is common for American students also to get homesick as they start college. Schools have on-campus resources to help you. You can reach out to teachers, counselors or resident advisers: They’re there to make sure you don’t feel overwhelmed.
4. Remember some activity that you love
… and start doing it through a campus club or community venue. If you love nature, join a hiking club or an outdoor program. If you want to stay fit, try a new sport. If you miss your art supplies, go to a local studio, or see if your college has any art-related programs or activities.
5. Practice your English before you come
… so that taking classes will be less stressful. If you plan to come next year, you can work on conversational English or even college-level writing before you come. That way you’ll have more time to enjoy your new friends and location.