I’ve never been the type of person to get homesick in college. Maybe it’s because I know that I’m only a short drive from college back home in Texas. Mainly, I’ve just never felt like I am missing out on anything by being away from home. During my first week in Madrid, we were told there would come a point where we would overcome the euphoria of the unknown and reach a lower point of homesickness. I was certain that wasn’t going to apply to me. Let me tell you how wrong I was.
I’ve learned so much in the last two months and I am so incredibly happy with my choice to study abroad, but for the last couple weeks there has been a small part of me experiencing creeping waves of missing home and wanting to get back into my comfort zone. I think that’s what it is, I am missing my comfort zone after being exposed to so many new things. I also began to fear that I was missing out on fully experiencing studying abroad since part of me was missing home. I felt that something was wrong with me and that I was being ungrateful. But that’s not true.
Homesickness is not fun and I hope if you’re reading this while abroad, you aren’t feeling homesick. But if you are, I want you to find comfort in knowing you’re not alone in the slightest bit. It is okay to miss home (whatever home means to you). To me, it’s driving with my best friends and singing our favorite songs at the top of our lungs, my mom’s cooking and my dad’s long hugs. However, these feelings do not take away from your study abroad experience. You are not being ungrateful or wasting away your time abroad for feeling like this. It is easy to internalize these emotions while looking out at everyone having fun and to feel like you’re the only one who feels this way. Everyone is different behind closed doors. Everyone deals with their feelings in their own way and that is okay.
What I’ve found works best for me is to take some time to allow myself to feel these feelings. Allow yourself to miss whatever home is to you. Make some time to reach out to your loved ones and catch up. It is incredible how much better you feel after a long conversation with a loved one back home—but also make sure you’re not spending your days locked in your room on your phone. It really is all about balance. Your study abroad experience doesn’t have to be all highs and no lows. There will be lows but there will be so many highs to overshadow those lows. Homesickness is not something to be afraid of. It is okay to feel that way, just don’t forget to live in the present.
Let yourself feel, but don’t get consumed in the negativity. Remind yourself that what you’re experiencing is awesome and something you’ll remember forever. There will be a time where I’ll get to drive endlessly with my best friends, eat my mom’s food and hug my dad as much as I want. Yet for now, I’m experiencing something not everyone gets to do and I’m so happy, lucky and grateful.
I am just barely past the halfway point of my study abroad experience. I have traveled to places I’ve wanted to go to since I can remember, I’ve seen the most beautiful places, the most beautiful monuments.
The world awaits…discover it.