OzTREKK Ambassadors: Homesickness Update
Alright, the major aspects a lot of people have asked me about when I moved over to the “literal” other side of the world is what about homesickness? How can you move somewhere with no friends, no family, and not have the ability to just take an hour’s drive home and see everyone?
Well, the simple answer is that for the first two to three months, I wasn’t homesick. You’re in the fantasy world of everything being brand new, exciting, and living in a place where it’s 30 degrees and sunny every day. Also, at the time school was really full-on so you didn’t really have a chance to get homesick.
I came over in November when back home it was just starting to enter winter and people didn’t really do much. The main time I was a little homesick was when I didn’t go home for Christmas and I ended up getting sunburned on my first Christmas without snow. Looking at everyone’s pictures and videos of them surrounded by family and eating good, home-cooked food was a little tough but you end up just Skyping/FaceTime into everyone’s party and it’s enough to hold you off.
Fast-forward to July and everyone back home is out and about having an amazing summer living their best lives.
This is when I officially started to feel homesick. I was missing birthdays, concerts, cottage weekend getaways, weddings and even the first child born into my friend group. To say this was just “another day” or just another event is an understatement. It does, at some point, give you the definition of the urban phrase “FOMO” (fear of missing out). But as an international student living in a foreign country, you have to have the ability to rationalize what you are doing and that this isn’t forever. You need to understand that you are bettering your own life in pursuit of a career that isn’t work for you—it’s your passion. We live in a technological age where you can Skyping/FaceTime/Facebook video call into anywhere in the world and (for the most part) have very good video/audio conversations as if you were there. This has saved me a lot of times and makes it way easier for communication back home.
The one thing that you do need to realize is that you are 14 hours ahead of Toronto and 18 hours ahead of Vancouver. So just keep that in mind when you are trying to plan to call a friend on their birthday or family on holidays. Other than that, you’re pretty much set! You will also meet a lot of people in your program from Canada (I’m sure) and they will become like your second family. Here, we went out for Canada Day and found a place that served poutine and Caesars! You get drinks after you finish exams, and you spend all day on Christmas making a potluck dinner for all those who didn’t have a chance to go home for the holidays.
All in all, it’s easier in this day and age to move across the world solely based on the progression of technology. Homesickness only really happens when you aren’t busy in your own life and are sitting alone in your place watching your friends’ Instagram stories.
So, the moral of my story is when you move over here, stay busy! Join a group on campus (check out my recent video blog!), go to the gym, go a run with a friend, get a job (maybe), but just stay busy! That’s all my advice for curbing that homesickness and surviving while studying as an international student.
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First-year UQ physiotherapy student