Spending a summer overseas can be one of the most fulfilling, rewarding experiences of your life. But it can be tough to get used to being away from home. All the things that make travel worthwhile – the new perspective you gain on the world and the unfamiliar cultures you’ll experience – can also be some of the most challenging aspects of travel.
You’ll be sleeping in a different bed, hearing a different language spoken and getting to know people you’ve never met. That’s a lot to take in at once! But overcoming homesickness is completely doable. Here are a few tips.
1. Get out there
Crowds in a foreign subway station? You can handle it! When you find a situation that makes you uncomfortable, take the time to overexpose yourself to it until you’re more relaxed there. By getting out of your comfort zone immediately, you’ll find that the transition is much easier to make.
2. Eat what the locals eat
Trying new things is just another way to immerse yourself in a new culture. The traditions surrounding a meal tell you a lot about local life. Figuring out what you like and where to find it will make your stay in a foreign country much more comfortable.
3. Use social media
Take advantage of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to stay in touch with your friends back home. Even if you don’t have an international cell phone plan, you can use the Internet just about anywhere you are to stay connected to friends and family.
4. Plan for emergencies
By knowing where you are, how to contact others with whom you are traveling and how to ask for help in your volunteer abroad situation, you’ll feel in control of your situation and ready to handle whatever comes up.
5. Have safe lodging
6. Get into a routine
It’ll help you feel in control of the situation and make you feel like you’re living a normal life, rather than just floating around the world on a whim.
7. Look for gifts for friends
You’ll feel more connected with them. And they’ll thank you for it! Even a trinket from a foreign country can mean the world to a friend back home.
8. Take time to be a tourist
Go see everything there is to see when you have time — you can hit the tourist highlights as well as the local ones.
9. Exercise regularly
When you’re active and moving around, you feel better about yourself and the world around you. The same is true when you’re studying abroad.
10. Find your hobbies
Chances are good you can find your hobbies and expand on them while you travel!