Hello, and welcome to BAISmag’s The Student Diaries, a comprehensive-ish guide to moving to The Netherlands as an international student! Our fourth article is dedicated to homesickness and how to overcome it, maybe.
Moving to a new country is exciting and exhilarating, especially when one moves to a country on another continent or one that has a completely different culture. But after the initial feelings of elation, some students can be hit by a (sudden) wave of homesickness. Maybe the expectations were not met, or the new country or student life is not as the same as one thought it would be. Some may not experience that much homesickness at all. Eve (US and Netherlands) doesn’t really feel homesick since the Netherlands is her home, but she does miss the US, especially the “varieties and quality of food” available there but not here. On the other hand, Tyler (US) has a specific way he deals with homesickness.
So, what can you do when you’re feeling homesick? Luckily, BAISmag interviewed some students regarding the ways on how they deal with homesickness!
When moving to a new country one may encounter the issue of not being able to find authentic tasting food from their home country. Francesca (Italy) said she misses the “quality of food in Italy”. In addition, a Japanese student pointed out how there are no good Japanese restaurants in The Hague. So when she misses Japanese food, it’s better that she cooks the food herself. My personal tip is to venture out and visit other cities in the Netherlands, such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, to look for a restaurant that prepares authentic food from your home county.
- Have your “own” space
It can be overwhelming to move to another country, so Tyler has a unique way to deal with homesickness. He said it helped him to “find a place here in the Netherlands, like a specific park, which [he] dubbed ‘my space’, if I ever feel down or miss home, it helps to go on a run around this park and relax”. In this same manner, what also helps me personally is finding a place that resembles home, which would be the beach for me. Even though it is not the same it still helps to calm me.
- Keeping up with parents and friends from back home
Calling back home to have a short or long chat with family and friends back home helps feel less homesick, like Francesca pointed out. Visiting home is another way to cope with homesickness. For some, home is just a short plane or train ride away. Such as Lena (France and Mauritania), who felt homesick the first semester and visited home for the holiday break.
For others, home is in a whole other continent, on the other side of the world even, which could be tricky, so hopefully the rest of these tips are helpful.
- Making new friends
Adapting to a new life when moving to a new country could be hard and lonely, especially because that means not having friends and family members from back home with you. It helped Lena to deal with her homesickness to adapt by making friends. She said “don’t stress too much about adapting here, because you won’t be alone, there will always be people around you”. Also, as Eve said: “it’s a whole new life so give yourself time to make new friends, build your life and do what you enjoy”. So, making new friends could help to combat loneliness, because they will be there for you through the ups and downs of uni life. So go out there and meet new people – who knows, maybe you’ll even make amazing friends for life!
Need some tips on how to make friends? You can read all about it in the next article of this series, so stay tuned!
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