Czech Republic

Dealing with Homesickness Abroad

Kendall Pemberton is a student at College of Charleston and an ISA Photo Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Prague, Czech Republic.

By choosing to study abroad, you have already decided to take a major leap of faith. With that comes a lot of new and exciting things. Some people can go months without thinking about what they may be missing back home, while others may take a little time to adjust to their new home away from home. I am not the type of person that gets homesick very easily; in fact, I go to school 12 hours from home as it is. But leaving the country, I am definitely a little farther out of my comfort zone. Over the past month and a half I have thought about what I might be missing at home or about my friends at school, but I have also been trying to make the most out of my limited time here as well. Here are just a few quick tricks I have used to cope with these moments of nostalgia:

  • Get Out
    • It is hard to feel motivated when you feel so comfortable staying inside in your pajamas all day. But all that time spent inside gives your mind too much space to wander. So instead, take a couple of hours every so often to just get outside. Take a quick adventure around your neighborhood, turn down a street that you have not taken before, invite a friend out to that restaurant you saw on your way home from class, or just take a good book to the closest park and enjoy your new surroundings. And remember to take a map.
Exercising is a great way to get some things off your mind and unwind, like we did when we found trampolines on the streets of Copenhagen.

Exercising is a great way to get some things off your mind and unwind, like we did when we found trampolines on the streets of Copenhagen.

  • Try Something New
    • You are already outside of your comfort zone, so why not take the next step? Find an activity that you have always wanted to try and do it, get adventurous with your choices of food, or even volunteer with the local community. I know that ISA has great opportunities to interact with locals as well as volunteering. Many schools may offer other ways of getting involved as well.
Though not very adventurous, the street sweets in Prague are well worth a try. My new favorite is the Trdelnik.

Though not very adventurous, the street sweets in Prague are well worth a try. My new favorite is the Trdelnik.

  • Find Something That Reminds You of Home
    • Depending on where you chose to study abroad, you are more than likely to find something that reminds you of home: be that your favorite fast food chain, a candy bar you cannot live without, or peanut butter (which is a miraculous find!). Do not be afraid to indulge in your favorite American guilty pleasures now and then, sometimes that reminder of home is just what you need.
I know going out and exploring is something I do often when I am at home, so naturally I found myself out taking photos of some new favorite views. This one is from the outlook at Prague Castle, a personal favorite spot.

I know going out and exploring is something I do often when I am at home, so naturally I found myself out taking photos of some new favorite views. This one is from the outlook at Prague Castle, a personal favorite spot.

  • Keep in Touch
    • Please, do not forget to call your mom every so often or FaceTime your grandparents. Communication is definitely key. You do not need to talk every day or constantly, but a simple text or Facebook message can make all the difference. Not only to you, but to them as well, because more than likely they are missing you just as much as you are missing them. I know that my heart is just overwhelmed when I get a surprise text from either of my parents or friends, because I know they are thinking of me and it eases my worries.
  • Open Up
    • Probably one of the most important points in this post: do not be afraid to open up about how you are feeling. Our ISA staff is always asking us how we are doing and are easy people to talk to. If you decide to talk to another student, more than likely they are feeling the same way every now and then. Sometimes, it is nice to know that you are not alone.
The people you are traveling with can make all the difference when it comes to feeling at "home" in your new location.

The people you are traveling with can make all the difference when it comes to feeling at “home” in your new location.

The world awaits…discover it.

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