One of the biggest questions International Students face when preparing to study abroad is how will they stay connected to home? Moving to a new country for school can feel daunting at first and it’s important you have the right support to make the transition as smooth as possible. When I speak to friends from home who are also studying in the UK you get the sense that while everyone is enjoying their time here, there are always little bits of home that we miss wether it’s a weekly family dinner or special celebration, it’s hard to replicate that while away from home. Thankfully there are a few ways to help you stay connected and hopefully alleviate any feelings of homesickness.
Regular Scheduled Facetime/ Phone Calls
Wether it’s for five minutes or an hour, having a regular time each few days or week that you can call home really helps you stay up to date with everything your family and friends are up to! Also scheduling it regularly gives you something to look forward to! Of course this can be tricky with different time zones. Since the West Coast of Canada is eight hours behind us I call home in the evenings around 8 pm. This gives me enough time to get home from class, make some dinner and open FaceTime. The only downfall is that there’s really only one time of the day when the timing lines up properly.
Family & group Chats
Some weeks you may find yourself too busy to catch up over the phone or if the time difference is really tricky, then a group chat may be a better option for keeping in touch. I have a few different We Chats with family and friends were I can send them updates and photos from the UK and they can respond on their own time. It always puts a mile on my face to open my phone after class and have some messages from home!
Sending Letters & Packages Home
I think it’s important to have some hobbies and activities that aren’t related to your studies so to give yourself a break from school work every few days. This year I took up writing letters to friends and family back home detailing my life at school and adventures to Scotland and Cornwall. I know they appreciate receiving them and it feels great to take some time and do something for someone else. Also when friends and family have birthdays back home there’s nothing like receiving a surprise birthday package from the UK.
Planning Your Next Trip Home
Last fall I went through a few weeks during the middle of term where I felt really home sick. While on FaceTime with my family we began planning activities we would do when I was home for Christmas Break. This helped so much because it gave me something to look forward to and the planning was a great way of distracting me when I felt homesick. That being said, when you do feel homesick, the best thing you can do is make yourself busy. Open some studying, head to the gym or getting together with some friends are just a few ideas of activities that can help distract you from missing home. Also connecting with other friends at school will give you that connection that you may be missing from home. Hopefully this gave you a few ideas of how to stay connected to home while at Surrey!