This month the sun is rising later and the evenings draw in sooner meaning we are all waking up and going home in the dark. Personally I love winter, OK so the rain I don't enjoy so much, but generally it’s a time for families to enjoy the comforts of home and hearty winter food. We are building up to Christmas and all the joy it has to offer.
Our students have now been in the UK over two months so hopefully the routines of life in the UK seem comfortable and they are seeing the development of their language skills and their confidence will be growing, however, this could be the time when the newness of the programme starts to fade and thoughts of home creep in. Therefore, we want to offer some advice to students, families and Reps about homesickness and possible signs that might be evident.
Homesickness is an anxiety or stress which can develop when you feel disconnected or separated from home. It often begins when you suffer from culture shock and negatively compare things, situations or practices that differ from your home country. Comparing your situation is a very natural part of your experience and it is interesting and useful, however, if you start viewing these changes as negative in your new place compared to your home, that is a time to stop and think about homesickness.
How it feels
You may feel lonely, isolated, cut off or confused with a desire to go back to ‘normal’. You may suffer anywhere from mild to severe homesickness and it may come and go. Either way it feels that you are yearning for familiar things. You feel that nothing is as good as things at home, it could be food or how your new culture operates or what your school is like or even just missing your usual TV programmes. Telling people that you think everything in your home country is better and that things here are not as good can also be upsetting to those you are talking to which can cause conflict and increase loneliness.