Two and a Half Month Update: Dealing with Homesickness

I refuse to admit that this semester is winding to a close yet (we still have more than a month people, stop trying to make me sad!!). Looking back this semester has already been a bit of a roller coaster of emotions especially in light of certain events. But, I’m not here to talk about that. Today I would like to talk all about homesickness. How it’s come up and some of the best ways I have found to deal with it when it rears its head.

In the beginning of study abroad so many new and exciting and somewhat intimidating things happened so fast that I didn’t even have time to feel homesick. I found for me it started to settle a little more than a month into my program after I had established a real routine and a real life here in Besancon. I started noticing it when I thought things such as “wow this would have been a lot different in the U.S.” (Seriously, the post offices and banks close here on Saturdays at noon, how am I supposed to get anything done??) Or “Wow I wish my best friend could have shared this {insert adjective} experience with me!”. For me, homesickness has come about in many forms whether it’s missing family, friends, pets, places, and things (I seriously miss having my car around, not going to lie). But here are some of my favorite ways of dealing with homesickness.

  • Comfort food!

One of the things I’ve found myself missing here is good old fashioned American Cuisine. Whether its burgers, chicken wings, or long island pizza and bagels, I find myself craving foods here that you just can’t find substitutes for. At least not in restaurants….But there is a solution! Cook it for yourself! I haven’t found any substitutes for the foods mentioned above but I have found so many recipes online for foods I take for granted and run out to the grocery store (or Panera bread) to buy readily made to take home. Some of the recipes I’ve found I enjoy so much; I’ll definitely be taking them back to the U.S. with me. Ah the magic of Pinterest.

Old fashioned mac & cheese

Old fashioned mac & cheese

  • A good old phone call with Mom and Dad

Whether you’re missing your parents directly or you don’t even think you are a phone call with them has made any of the homesickness I feel immediately better. Even if I don’t miss them like crazy it’s fun to hear little updates about their daily lives I couldn’t get anywhere else. They also keep me regularly updated on the animal circus I have going on at my house, and if anybody has a pet they have had to leave behind for study abroad or just college in general, you can understand how great it is to get silly updates like that. Pets aside, my parents generally offer me awesome wisdom, especially in a pinch (lesson, don’t ever lose your wallet in a foreign country).

Last weeks cat update; The boat standoff

Last weeks cat update; The boat standoff

  • A night in with the other Americans in your program

I’m lucky enough to have bonded very well with the other girls currently doing the same program as me, but even if you haven’t had the same experience a night in with somebody in exactly the same position as you could do wonders for homesickness. So grab someone else in your program (or maybe all of them, that’s what we did!) and have a classic movie night. In English of course. It’s okay to cheat on your host countries language sometimes J

  • New friends from your host country…Or maybe not!

One of my best experiences here has been meeting my group of French friends. They welcomed me and the other Americans in right away, and made my home away from home that much better. We all regularly hang out and watch French (and English) films together, have food nights, and enjoy nights out together. Learning about all of their experiences in life has opened my eyes to a lot of different things and has made me that much more excited to be here. Along with my French friends, I’ve been fortunate enough to make friends from a bunch of other countries as well! The CLA has students from many other countries around the world participating in their program so I regularly get together with them and learn about all of their cultures too. There are usually copious amounts of food involved, and who doesn’t love that. Comparing my culture to so many others does make me realize I have things at home to miss, but there is too much happening here for me to ever be sad about it.

Asian cuisine night

Asian cuisine night

"Fancy night"

“Fancy night”

There are plenty of different ways to deal with homesickness that I haven’t mentioned, and not every method will work for everybody. During your time abroad you’ll learn what works for you and what doesn’t. The most important thing about homesickness is to not let it stop you from enjoying your program .Whether you’re here for a year or a semester this is an experience you can’t have the same way twice so enjoy it while you’re here! If you need a day or two here and there to stay in your room and miss home that’s totally normal. I’ve had my share of days. But I know that my home is still there waiting for me, and I won’t let missing it take away from my time here in France.

 

I am a French major with an undeclared minor. I’ve traveled to Europe three times in my life and always find myself wanting to go back so spending a year here is a great opportunity for me! I love travelling so be prepared for a lot of travel posts. I will be studying at the Université de Franche-Comte for one academic year.

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