Choman: 6 awesome ways to overcome homesickness

Author headshot: Choman - 6 awesome ways to overcome homesickness as an international student
Choman has completed a Master of Engineering Science degree with specialisation in surveying. He is a lecturer assistant at University of Sulaimani, Iraq. He is passionate about photography and his favourite genres are birds and night-long exposure photography.

If you are planning on moving from a different city or even a different country to study at university, it’s likely that you will suffer from homesickness to a certain degree; especially if it is your first time moving away from home. Experiencing being homesick is normal for students of any age group and there is no shame in talking about it.

When I first moved to Toowoomba from Iraq, I was so homesick that I wanted to fly back to my home country. But after three and half years, I am still here and still have so much of the things Australia has to offer to discover.

As an international student who has experienced homesickness, here are my top recommendations to overcome this feeling:

1. Before you leave home, research your new university and city so you know what life is like.

You will most likely find people from your home country through social media and community pages on Facebook. This is where I found out about student accommodation at USQ and the free airport shuttle bus service provided by USQ. Isn’t it nice to have someone waiting for you at the airport when your friends and family are not there?

Choman: Overcome homesickness: Windmills at USQ Toowoomba campus

2. On arrival, you'll experience a different environment and culture to what you're use to, so it's important to stay positive.

Try not to compare home with your new environment and try to stay confident about your choice to study overseas. Attending the first week of activities (aka Orientation) is very important as it introduces you to university life, the Australian transportation system and Australian animals, which in turn helps you to quickly engage with the community.

Choman: Overcome homesickness: KoalaChoman: Overcome homesickness: native Australian bird

3. Don’t be afraid of making new friends from different countries, including Australia.

Remember that you are not alone in experiencing homesickness, so try to share your story with your new friends. This will ease your anxiety and stress while also educating you about other cultures.

4. Spend less time in your room and go out and discover your surroundings.

Each of the three University of Southern Queensland campuses are suitably situated near major cities and beaches in Queensland, which makes it easy to organise weekend road trips.

Choman: Overcome homesickness: surfing

5. Continue to do your favourite activities that you used to do in your home country and try to discover new hobbies.

For example, I love photography and thankfully Toowoomba has a lot of beautiful places that capture my attention, like the Japanese Gardens, which is right next to the Toowoomba campus.
There are also a number of student clubs at USQ including various sports clubs that you can be a part of. There is also the USQ Works Gym available at every USQ campus, which offers discounted memberships for USQ students.

6. Remember that the feeling of homesickness is only temporary and that you have a bigger dream ahead.

Take advantage of your time in Australia and the services available to you to build a better person, whether through training or volunteer work.

Your homesickness should never hold you back from what you have planned to do. Use these tips to help you cope with this strange feeling, and your new destination will eventually feel like your home. As Ellis from the 2015 movie Brooklyn (my favourite movie) says:

‘You'll feel so homesick that you'll want to die, and there's nothing you can do about it apart from endure it. But you will, and it won't kill you. And one day the sun will come out - you might not even notice straight away, it'll be that faint’.

Getting ready to study in Australia? Check out this step-by-step guide to your first 48 hours in the country and download these amazing apps for Aussie life! If you’re planning on studying in Australia aren’t sure which university to apply to, find out why USQ is for you and contact USQ's International team.


Related:

Laura: 3 highlights of moving to Australia for study

Alice: I want to go home!

Understanding and overcoming culture shock