Life Abroad Panels: Homesickness

In April of 2023, The Champlain Abroad office hosted the Life Abroad Panels with the aim of providing valuable insights and support to students preparing for or interested in studying abroad. These panels cover several different topics such as Wellness, Identity (with WGC), Food Issues, Academic Issues, Social Interaction, Finances, and Homesickness. These panels will serve as a way to share experiences, tips, and guidance from both staff members and former students who studied and lived in different countries. We recognize that these are not the only concerns students may have when it comes to studying abroad, therefore we urge students to fill out the Life Abroad Questionnaire that is provided to them on TerraDotta after they are accepted into our programs. Here, students will be able to list their concerns and they are encouraged to reach out to our office to discuss them further. Our study abroad coordinators are always willing to meet with students to answer questions and address concerns. The office also hosts various events and activities that can help students ease the transition of going abroad. To stay updated on the events and/or to book an appointment with our coordinators, check out our Events page. Ultimately, the life abroad panels served as a useful tool to empower and prepare students for their international experiences and ensure a successful and enriching time abroad. Here is the recording of the panel discussing how to deal with homesickness while being abroad (closed-captioning available).

Below you can find a brief outline of the panel which was held on Zoom.

I. Introductions

  • Elin Melchior, Study Abroad Coordinator. Studied abroad at the University of Warwick.
  • Martha Moreno Linares, Study Abroad Coordinator. Originally from Venezuela, studied abroad in Canada and the US.
  • Ping Melchior, 3rd-year International Business major. Studied abroad in South Korea, Greece, and Thailand.
  • Lizbeth Reyes G., a 4th-year Marketing major. Studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland, and interned abroad in Seoul, South Korea.
  • Martina Monroe, 4th-year Accounting major. Studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland.
  • Josh Berkowsky, 4th-year Professional Writing major. Studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland.

II. Experiencing Homesickness

  • Ping highlights the initial difficulties of adjusting to a new environment.
  • Josh talks about the emotional challenges and missing familiar surroundings.
  • Martina mentions feeling disconnected and missing home comforts.
  • Lizbeth shares her struggles with homesickness, missing home, food, and home culture.

III. Coping Strategies

  • Ping emphasizes the importance of going outside and exploring new surroundings.
  • Josh advises taking walks and having a general idea of the direction you take while on walks but being open to explore.
  • Martina suggests reaching out to roommates and friends for activities and distractions.
  • Lizbeth recommends self-care activities like going out for coffee or visiting the park.

IV. Exploring the Location

  • Josh emphasizes the need to go outside even when feeling down.
  • Ping talks about finding friends who share similar financial constraints and exploring nearby places together.
  • Martina emphasizes reaching out to friends and engaging in activities to distract the mind.
  • Lizbeth shares her experience of exploring the city and finding comfort.

V. Balancing Homesickness and Excitement

  • Elin acknowledges that homesickness can be difficult but emphasizes the worth and enjoyment of the experience.
  • Martha mentions that homesickness is temporary and encourages focusing on the positives of the current experience.

VI. Perspective on Homesickness

  • Martha highlights the limited duration of studying abroad and the return home.
  • Elin Melchior emphasizes that the challenges are worth the positive experiences.
  • Participants agree that homesickness is a common struggle for many students studying abroad.
  • Returning home was a transition in itself.

VII. Advice for Future Students

  • Josh advises going outside, even during difficult times, and taking walks.
  • Ping suggests finding friends with similar situations and exploring nearby places.
  • Martina recommends reaching out to roommates and friends for activities and distractions.
  • Lizbeth suggests self-care activities and exploring the city.
  • Elin Melchior encourages students to embrace the temporary struggle of homesickness for the overall positive experience.

Links to Other Life Abroad Panels

More General Advice
Prepare to Go Abroad by Learning a Little of the Local Language
Montréal Culture: Books, Movies, and More!
Irish Culture: Books, Movies, and More!