I have always loved to explore, and try new things, even if I had never seen anyone else in my family or friend group do it. I am not too sure if these traits developed from my position as the oldest child in a large family, but the thought of taking risks did not scare me but made me excited. Starting from my first year of high school, I had the opportunity to engage in a local summer program that was only 20 minutes from my house. This home away from home was my first glimpse at independence, and I liked the feel of being “an adult” or at least what I thought adulthood would be. From smaller tasks such as being responsible for my classes and eating dinner and other meals on my own time, I felt like I had more control of my life, and I did not mind this luxury. This independence progressed from the small 2-week program, and I had the privilege to attend a two-month program out of state and many more similar opportunities throughout my high school days. To say the least, when I went to college across the country, homesickness was not an issue. Although I was extremely far from home, all the smaller programs I participated in had prepared me for this independent lifestyle – I was determined and ready to make the most out of the experience.
Homesickness is something I have never dealt with but watched from the sidelines as my former roommates and friends experienced these emotions. You can guess that when I began to face the symptoms of homesickness while abroad, it came to me by surprise. I would not say I know what triggered these thoughts in me, but this took a slight toll on my experience. My decision to study abroad alone was based on my interest in the course material because I did not want to pick a location that did not have programs in my major. I followed my interests in medicine, and when I narrowed down the options, I got Stockholm. The overall experience has been great, both in and outside of class; however, I think I first began to feel these symptoms of homesickness in march. I expected the weather to warm up a bit faster than reality presented itself, and this did not sit well with me because, as an Arizona resident, the cold was not for me. Some might say that I knew what I signed up for before these emotions, which I did, but after traveling to warmer countries, I began to miss home a little extra everything the breeze blew harder.
I would not say that my symptoms were extreme during this period of homesickness, but it was noticeable considering that this was the first time I had experienced it. I dealt with these feelings by keeping myself busy and distracted from the little things that made me want to book an early ticket home. I hung out with my friend and host family and spent quality time with the people in front of me rather than wishing I was with my friends and family from America. I also found it helpful to discuss and share the emotions that I was feeling with the other students around me because they could relate, and it was comforting to know that I was not experiencing these feelings alone. Homesickness is normal and it is something that many students face, as I have come to realize. These symptoms of homesickness can look different for everyone and also appear at various times. Despite this experience, I was not discouraged from exploring or traveling, and I have learned to deal with homesickness.
See you soon,