By Marlee Newman
So…you are studying abroad in a brand new city thousands of miles from home with a bunch of people you hardly know. Every interaction is a combination of butchered Italian pronunciations and over the top charades and perhaps the most difficult thing of all … there are no cheez-its available to you.
Studying abroad brings with it unbelievable experiences, unforgettable memories, and a LOT of carbs. However, sometimes between the long train rides and hostels with only one inconveniently placed outlet… you start to miss home. Next time you get that unsettled feeling or just start to crave pumpkin spice lattes, try out these tricks to prevent homesickness:
1. Eat some gelato
The natural solution to most issues, but especially while in Italy, have a big, heaping cone of gelato. Not in Italy? Anything sweet will do the trick. The point is to treat yourself and just take a break. I bet you’ve never witnessed someone eating an ice-cream cone and frown on their face, have you? It is proven that eating dessert releases endorphins which make you happy! So hey, go get that double scoop, and turn your frown upside down.
2. Try a new restaurant
One of the best ways to really explore your city and make it feel like home is to discover new “hole in the wall” restaurants. Team up with your roommates and put all of the places you’d like to try in a hat. Once a week pick out a new restaurant and go try it. Not only does food taste great, but it also often brings with it new experiences and people. Get out there and explore.
3. Cook a big American breakfast
I don’t think anything says home like some bacon, eggs, and mimosas. One of the biggest adjustments moving to Europe is the difference in breakfast! We weren’t raised on dainty croissants and espresso shots…
We were brought up eating bagel sandwiches and IHOP choco-chip pancake stacks. Breakfast is a big deal in America, and of course, we all miss it, so why not make your own? If you’re running out of bagel sandwich ideas (HA!) try these out.
Ok so just looking at that bagel sandwich list I think I gained 5 pounds. Which brings us to our next coping mechanism… exercise! It’s proven that exercise is nearly as good for your head as for your body. Take a run around your city or do some yoga in the park. Not only do you get a great workout and release more endorphins but you also get to observe day to day life in your city.
Take in that constant smell of fresh pastries and watch the little European dogs that look like their owners. Silently chuckle at the tourists with their fanny packs and oversized maps and watch the sun setting over that important looking building you still haven’t visited. You’ll look back years (or even months) from now and miss these little things.
5. Write down your thoughts
Next time you’re missing home or having an overwhelming day go outside, sit in your favorite park and just write down what you’re thinking.
Don’t worry about what it sounds like or if you spelled “coliseum” right, just let your thoughts flow. This is a great way to reflect and sometimes seeing your thoughts on paper is all it takes to process them and feel less overwhelmed.
6. Reach out to loved ones
Sometimes no amount of gelato scoops or bacon will work and you just need to talk to mommy. There are so many great phone apps for keeping in touch with those back home, it’ll feel like they’re there with you! Here are some of the best apps out there for communicating back home; Skype, Facetime, Postagram (send a picture straight from your phone to your family’s mailbox in postcard form), Magic Jack, Whatsapp, & Viber.
The purpose of meditation is to focus on the present moment. Sometimes we get so caught up thinking about the past or the future we don’t get to enjoy the moment were in which for most of us studying abroad is a pretty cool moment in our lives. Meditation gives us that big picture perspective we often need. Whether it’s going to a new place or sitting quietly in the same old, taking the time to appreciate something you may not get again.
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