I think homesickness is one of those things that is talked about too much and also not enough. So many people talked to me before I left for Australia, asking if I thought I’d miss home and how I’d cope and to be perfectly honest, I didn’t have an answer. They say 9 out of 10 people experience homesickness and honestly thought I’d be that 1/10 that would be absolutely fine. For the first couple months this was true. There was just so much going on! I had a jam-packed first couple months away, making sure I was busy and never slowing down. It seemed even better that all my friends from England were either home for the summer or working in Sheffield. This made It very easy to talk to everyone and keep in touch, whilst they weren’t all hanging out together so I didn’t really have any FOMO. However, this all took a change for the worst when Uni started up in the UK again. All my friends reunited for fresher’s week and were having lots of fun without me (so rude of them). The timing of this also coincided with mid-terms week at university in Australia. This meant I was spending a lot of time working in the library by myself, which made it harder to ignore the fact all my friends were having fun without me.
These feelings were pretty rubbish and honestly made it one of the worst weeks abroad I had. However, I found out many things over the next few weeks to make this situation better and overcame my feelings of homesickness. Firstly, I spoke to my other exchange friends who were also from England and learnt they were having very similar feelings to me. This made us all feel better, having an outlet to talk about what we were missing out on and cheer each other up. We managed to organise more days out together and evenings cooking and hanging out together. This made us all feel less alone on the other side of the world. Making friends with other people who are also studying abroad makes these situations much easier as you have people around you who are going through similar situations and can help each other out. They are also likely to want to explore and will make sure you don’t miss out on experiences in your new home.
I also managed to organise certain times to Facetime my friends back home, whether it was a Sunday night or every other Tuesday. It was nice to have set times to see and catch up with my friends. I also didn’t have to worry so much about them not keeping me in the loop with things because I knew that I would b able to catch up on our next Facetime. I honestly believe I probably kept in touch with people better when I was abroad than I do now that I’m back in Sheffield! I think the most important advice is that communication is a two-way deal. You have to take time out of your life to catch up with them, just as they have to make time for you. A simple message, saying ‘Hey, I miss you. Please give me a live update.’ is so easy and means you don’t need a reason to message someone. With so many forms of social media and different group chats, it’s now so easy to keep in touch that people will barely forget you aren’t in Sheffield and you won’t miss out on anything!