I took a plane from Chennai, India armed with two carry-on suitcases and a VISA that confirmed my attendance to Claremont McKenna College. I landed in a country where the culture was foreign, interactions were different, and accents were alien.
I was fortunate to have my parents to ease my transition but that safety net was lost on day two of orientation, when they headed back to India. Orientation week was a blur of new faces, activities, and discussions where I had little time to breathe. But, as soon as it ended, I was lost.
In other words, I was homesick.
“Homesickness is not merely missing a house; rather, it encapsulates a wide variety of emotions, feelings, and warmth that one associates with a place,” says clinical psychologist Josh Kaplow [and make his name a link to the article]
I agree. I missed the humidity, sounds of traffic, my native language, my extended family, and the warmth of people that I grew up with. As an incoming international freshman, this was heightened. I experienced anxiety, difficulty with communication, and even a loss in appetite – all common symptoms of homesickness.
As a sophomore, I no longer experience homesickness. I do miss my parents; however, I am lucky to have found my own niche at CMC . For those who continue to struggle with homesickness, here are a few helpful tips that helped me get through it:
- It is important to call your parents but not too often. It’s always good to touch base with them but you need to establish your independence, too
- Don’ot be afraid of seeking help.Talk to a counselor or a friend if you are unable to cope or are experiencing any kind of physical or psychological difficulties
- Try to get involved on campus. This will allow you to immerse yourself into the campus culture while also getting to meet new people
- Put yourself out there, talk to people, and always try to maintain a positive attitude.
There is no easy fix to homesickness. A tendency to miss home is natural feeling. But, by being patient, positive, and being willing to seek help, you might find yourself slowly adapting to a new environment.
It’s hard to completely replace a home, but it’s not impossible to find your space in a new city, country, college, or continent.