Being away at college brings on a lot of new and exciting feelings. Being an international student in Dublin, the first few days or weeks everything is perfect. You’re exploring and seeing things that you have never even thought you would see. You’re going out, meeting locals and just having a blast. Then it hits you. After a little bit you realise that you’re not exactly comfortable with where you are. You’re aware of everything, and everything is not so picture-perfect anymore.
You have come to realise that your mom is not there anytime you need her. She cannot fix everything anymore. You have to actually take care of yourself and do things you have never even done before, and you’re having all these different emotions that you’ve never had before. Now you can’t sleep. The bed isn’t right and the sheets feel strange. The food isn’t good and you’re really missing your mom’s home cooking. You’re experiencing homesickness.
My top tips for combating homesickness
Now take a deep breath in and and then… exhale. It will pass. You just have to learn to cope with it. As an international student in Dublin, you won't be the first person to go through this. You just need a few tools to cope!
1. Stay busy. I cannot stress this enough. The busier you are, the less time you have to think about home. Also, it makes time go by faster.
2. Become independent. As a young adult you have probably never done anything by yourself. Being away from home is the perfect opportunity to become independent. Go sit in a café by yourself and enjoy coffee or tea. Even going to the cinema by yourself is an accomplishment.
3. Stay in touch. It is okay to call your parents. They will love to hear from you and want to hear your voice. Sometimes Mom’s voice is the best medicine.
4. Make your room a home away from home. Put up pictures and lights and make it your space.
5. Make new friends. While you have the friends that you have known your whole life, it is okay to go ahead and make new friends at college. It will help adjusting and most likely, they are in the same place that you are.
6. Talk to someone. Everyone needs help sometimes and it is ok to go and see a counsellor. Sometimes an unbiased opinion is just what you need.
7. Join a team. This is a great way to make friends, travel, and will keep you busy.
8. Travel. You live in Europe! This is the place everyone wants to be and would love to be in your shoes. It is so cheap to travel compared with the US especially and you will have amazing experiences. I’ve travelled to three different European countries for less than €400 so it can be done on a student budget!
9. Get a routine. When you have a routine down it makes things a lot easier. You know what to expect and you can plan to do other fun things in between.
These are just some ways to help get over homesickness. It is not the end of the world. It will pass and you will be a stronger person after. It can seem tough but personally, I’ve found that Dublin is filled with some of the nicest people I have ever met in my life.
The hidden surprises that will make you smile
There are hidden surprises too. Believe it or not, Ireland has some of the best surfing in the world. I have never surfed before and never in a million years would I have ever thought of surfing let alone surfing in Ireland. The idea sounds crazy to me, and it was crazy. I was so scared at first and I am someone who absolutely does not like being cold.
I conquered my fear of the water and honestly you don’t really think about anything else other than trying to get a wave. You would think, that you were going to be cold but, they give you a wet suit, shoes, gloves, and even something that covers your head. The only thing that is exposed is your face and even that you don’t get cold. It has been by far my favourite memory.
But it’s the people that I will always remember. Whether they are in my classes or meeting them in pubs, they have always been super-friendly and always willing to help me when I need it.
They always have lots of questions for me and genuinely want to hear everything I have to say. When I was out at a pub, a group of Irish women came up to a group of us and had a nice long conversation. We asked them questions on how to blend in and they gave us a lot of advice about everything. Even when a group of us got lost and we didn’t have GPS, they dropped everything and actually walked us back to where we were trying to go.
I couldn’t ask for better people to be around.