As the last stretch of my time here in South Korea is approaching, a little over a month now, I am starting to feel the most homesick I’ve felt so far. I find this interesting because I assumed that my homesickness would occur the most at the beginning of my trip. Instead it is vice versa; I missed home a very little amount for the first month but this last month seems to be almost unbearable. Of course I am very excited for the rest of my time here and everyday I am ecstatic to see what the day will bring. There are still so many things I have planned for my time here, but I am undoubtedly anticipating the day my flight will be here. I am constantly thinking about the simple things that I took for granted back at home and missing them being apart of my daily routines.
Homesickness and feeling out of place is an extremely normal part of studying abroad that I feel isn’t as talked about, or not talked about enough. I know of a few people in my program who have left early or have expressed a deep longing to return back to the states. This applies to myself as well; the truth is that despite studying abroad being such an amazing experience, you never truly stop having to get used to your surroundings (whether that be the environment, the people of your destination country, or the people in your program). I find that no matter how exciting everyday is, everything is still so fresh and new. It’s such a reality check and it makes me miss the simplicity of being at home in an environment that I’m extremely accustomed to (my comfort zone).
However, I realize that these feelings of homesickness and longing for familiarity are actually some of the most important components to studying abroad. The whole point to international study is to be uncomfortable, to be put into situations that are so out of your element that you find yourself molding into someone who is able to handle situations that scare you. It is apparent to me that I’ve changed in ways that I would not have been able to do so if I were back in the states. So, even when I have very low moods due to missing home or feeling out of place, my newfound abilities of resilience specific to the experience of study abroad allow me to pull myself out of said moods.
To combat these moments of homesickness, my friends and I decided to visit an extremely famous brunch restaurant called Maple Top. They have a menu that seems almost endless with lots of options that are American breakfast staples. It’s the little things that having a taste of home and spending time with people who remind me of friends at home help so much.