Anyone who has spent an extended period of time away from home has felt it – that ache for the comfort of home and the people in your life that make that place so special.
It could be a craving for your favorite home-cooked meal that you miss or the smell of the detergent your parents used to wash laundry with. The smallest things can trigger this homesickness and it can leave you feeling down and out of place.
Nearly anyone who leaves a familiar surrounding for a new environment experiences this, and it’s a direct side effect of leaving your comfort zone and expanding your horizons. It’s normal for students at a boarding school to feel that little ache during the beginning of a new school year or term.
While your home will always be a special place filled with meaningful people, there are ways to ease the discomfort of missing them and begin feeling content and comfy in your new home at EF Academy.
1. Make new friends
Sure, putting yourself out there can make you feel vulnerable because you’re out of your comfort zone, but keep in mind that during those first few weeks of school, there are many other students who are experiencing exactly what you are. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to connect with your peers in class so don’t be afraid to make new friends.
“The best thing about studying at an international school is to have classes with people from all over the world, that makes the classes more interesting as we have different points of view and different ways to approach the topics.” says Claudia Uribe, IB student at EF Academy Torbay.
You’ll have a chance to connect with people who are in the same situation as you are and you’ll have the added bonus of learning all about their culture and sharing your own. This doesn’t just apply to the classroom, one of your first friends on campus is likely to be your roommate. You’ll both have the chance to connect over life on campus and you can share your feelings of homesickness with them and find support in each other.
2. Join clubs or activities
Clubs and activities are a great way to pass time as you’re introduced to life on campus. They can help you meet new people and further your interests in different areas. This will help fill your schedule with things you enjoy, which makes it easier to feel comfortable and part of a community.
3. Make yourself feel at home
The walls and desk in your room are empty for a reason – so you can make it your own! Put up posters and pictures that remind you of your favorite people and places. You can even hang up the flag from your home country or fill the space with your favorite cultural decor. Decorating your personal space with reminders of where you came from will make you feel like it’s not that far away. So go ahead, make yourself at home.
4. Talk to your counselor
Your guidance counselor isn’t just there to help you with your academics. They’re there to listen and offer advice for any problem that you might have – that includes feeling homesick. You can also always turn to your host family or house parent if you need a trusted adult to talk to. Remember, their goal is to make you feel comfortable, safe, and cared for because that’s the best way to find your home away from home.
5. Stay connected to friends and family
Speak to family members as often as you can at the start of your studies. It’s easy to be in touch with the people you love back home – technology has made long-distance communication happen with literally the press of a button. You can do this through Skype, Whatsapp, text message or telephone.
Set aside a designated time to call your parents and friends. They have to get used to you being away as well! Remember, it will take a little time for you to adjust to your new environment. Be patient with yourself, and look forward to all the new friendships you’ll build and the life-changing cultural experience you’ll have.
EF Academy offers an unrivaled level of personal support and guidance at our boarding schools and offices around the world. We prepare you for success by working with you to discover and develop your strengths and by providing you with an academic environment that will see you thrive.