Study Abroad Series: 23 Homesickness

I love traveling. When I have a holiday, I usually plan to go somewhere. So, I had never thought of and prepared myself for homesickness.

Before going to Italy, I read Erasmus Mundus Student Handbook, a handbook for Erasmus Mundus student. This handbook did not give information in detail. It explained in a big picture, and things were different in each country in Europe. The handbook told me many things starting from the purpose of this scholarship, how to apply the scholarship, how to live abroad, how to register the course, how to rent a room, how to apply for visa, how to open bank account, and so on.

One of the topics that I was interested in was culture shock. In this topic, the research work was used to explain; living abroad were divided into 4 periods. The first period was honeymoon. It was time that everything looked beautiful and we enjoyed eating local foods and drinks and taking photos of every corner. Then, the second period was rejection. It was time when we started seeing the bad things of where we were living and started thinking of the good things of our home country. Then, the third period was recovery. It was time when we understood and admitted the difference between the countries, and started feeling belonging to the new place. Then, the last period was adjustment. It was time that we were familiar with the place.

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From the research work, the time for each period was different for each person, and the period might not order like this. It depended on past experience, the adjustment ability, and so on.

I was interested in this topic because I wanted to know how I would be. I observed myself since the first day I stepped my feet on the ground of Italy. My experience did not start from honeymoon period. It skipped to rejection period. I was not that excited with neither the city itself nor the foods. I arrived Bolzano in September. Soon, the winter came. The days were getting shorter. The nights were getting longer. And, also because of the stress from the studying, I missed my home.

Living there for a while, I started settling down. Traveling to other cities also helped me feel better. Unawarely, I passed the recovery and adjustment period.

Homesickness was part of the studying abroad that students had to deal with. One of my friends listened to songs that he usually heard them during the festival. He told me that he had never paid attention to these songs when he lived in his country. But he missed his home so much, so he listened them. For me and my Thai friend, to relieve homesickness we usually ate instant noodle from Thailand and watched Thai movie together.

After living in Italy for a year, I learned that… homesickness was like having a cold. After getting better, you could get it again!

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