Helena Xiang: from being sick of home; to being homesick

Like with most things, the first few days of adventure is full of excitement because it’s a new environment, but sometimes that fades away really quickly. For me, the reality that I would be away from home for the first time for at least 4 months at a time didn’t hit me until a week after arrival. It was then that I started to really miss home.

Here are some tips on how to cope with homesickness that I have used.

1. Video Calling
Thank goodness for video calling. I can’t imagine living away from home and not being able to video call my family. This method really helps. Because I video call my family so often, it doesn’t really seem like I’m away from home, or that I’m going to be away for such long periods of time. Instead, it gives me the feeling of going on an elongated field trip (albeit one that lasts for at least 6 years). But, honestly, if you ever feel homesick just give them a call. This is my number one tip.

2. Do the things you like to do
Just because you’re in a new place doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to do things you don’t want to do. It can just cause yourself some unnecessary stress, which nobody really needs right now. Although, yes, trying new things is always great and something I would totally recommend that you do, don’t feel like you have to force yourself. In my case, I don’t drink. Although there are tons of drinking parties and other events that involve drinking on and off campus, I wouldn’t go because it’s not something I’m interested in (but if you do like these events, I’m sure you’ll love it there! Australians know how to party!). I know sometimes people force themselves to go out because they fear they won’t make friends otherwise, but don’t stress yourself over it. Take your time, you WILL find a great group of people. Stressing will never help.

3. Find a great group of people to hang out with
This will help you transition so much! Find a great group of people you can hang out with and feel comfortable around will ease your transition greatly. Hanging out with others can often take your mind off of things that upset you, like homesickness, and also telling someone your troubles will help a whole lot. How quickly you make friends depends on your personality of course, and again, don’t stress out too much over it especially if you’re an introvert like me. Friends will come if you make a little effort, but you don’t need to try too hard. Just be you. You can meet many people on campus, on college (if you live on campus), in class, at events etc. This leads me to my next tip.

4. Attend school events!
JCU has loads of great events that you can pick and choose from. They range from small social events that occur on campus, to off campus social events. Some small on-campus events I recommend are the JCU international Cafe held weekly as well as the JCU international free lunches. You can mingle with other international students, participate in their events, and learn about their culture. Highly recommend this! Last week was the first free lunch of this semester. They had Kangaroo hot dogs (If you’re up for it, you should try these. I mean, when else would you have the opportunity?) and some other food and refreshments, volleyball, a few Aboriginal people taught us about their culture, and some other events. I have to say, their dot paintings are gorgeous!

Everybody is different. These are just the things that I did that worked for me. Whether you’ve been at JCU for a while or new here, just remember that JCU has great people working to help your transition easier. Don’t be afraid to contact the International team if you need help. They’re really good at what they do.

Anyways… I hope you enjoy your time here and never forget to have fun! 🙂 x

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