DEALING WITH HOMESICKNESS ABROAD
Writer: Kalyana Sidra | Illustrator: Ariyani Nuraini | Editor: Athaya Hardono | Photographer: Reinardus Darren
Dedicated to all the first-years out there.
Picture this: after 18 years of living with your loved ones, suddenly you’re sleeping on a futon
all by yourself. The quietness of Beppu versus Indonesia’s lively nights makes quite a stark
difference that you can’t help but to notice.
From yours truly’s first-hand experience, the first month of living abroad for me was a mess. I
was filled with so much anxiety about being away from my family and friends that I couldn’t
eat for a week because (pardon the vivid image) I kept throwing food back up for the first 10
days. To be fair, it wasn’t that I had zero fun at all, I just felt homesick because I was thrown
out of my comfort zone and I felt alone. But I wasn’t and neither are you.
After a while, I was able to find a different kind of joy in my life. It was new and unique to
itself – my very own university experience. Over time, I started to find things that helped me
feel significantly better, which will now be shared to you. Read along!
1. Remember that everything you’re feeling right now is temporary
This tip works well in almost every situation. When you’re happy, the reminder makes
you appreciate the present even more. But especially, when you’re feeling sad, anxious, or
just overall bad, it reminds you that this too shall pass. At the risk of sounding cliché, there is
light at the end of the tunnel. Life is a journey, part of growing up is realizing that there will be
ups and downs. Even if the downs last for weeks on end, it’s still going to go up!
On top of that, Beppu is a great place to live in. Rest assured first-years, your next
four years will be filled with countless memories you will surely come to miss after you leave.
After all, what’s not to love about spending your days and nights with your friends? Say hello
to impromptu midnight trips to the beach.
2. Surround yourself with friends you feel comfortable with
When you feel lonely, remember that you are not alone. There’s a difference
between the two. It’s important to know when to ask for help and there is zero shame in
doing just that. For first-years, you live in a dormitory that is, quite literally, full of people. Of
course, one can feel lonely despite being in a crowd. But then again, having actual friends to
accompany you during your tough times might be worth trying outt.
APU is teeming with opportunities to find new friends that last a lifetime. The process
of finding those kinds of friends is a trial and error type of thing though, so don’t be afraid of
striking up a conversation or two in the kitchen at 2 a.m. in the morning! Again, taking from
my own experience, I met one of my best friends while crying in public, asking her for acid
reflux medicine because I felt so nauseous from my homesickness. Bam, a new friend plus a
good anecdote to tell every now and again.
3. Set a date to come back home
If all else fails, this one will do the trick. A large reason for homesickness is
uncertainty. You feel unsure of yourself, still woozy after being dropped on your own two
feet. As anxiety often blurs comprehension, you don’t have a clear idea of when you’re going
to see your family and friends next. So, the logical conclusion is to set an exact date to come
back to your loved ones. Perhaps, if you are able to, buy a plane ticket right then and there.
Risky, yes, but so worth it because then you will feel safer than before. Having a certainty to
hold on to at times where you feel as if the floor is swaying with the waves of life is a
precious treasure. Although, I recommend trying out the previous tips before this one. Trust
me, they’re worth the effort.
All in all, you will go through this bout of homesickness. Missing home is a very normal
feeling, one pops up now and then. What’s more is that you made the choice to go abroad
and you owe it to yourself to make your university years worthwhile. If the thought fills you
with excitement, then props to you! Now, if it makes you feel anxious, then there’s a couple
of things to remember – you are not alone and that it will pass. Also, congratulations,
because you’ve got about 4 more years of fun, unforgettable memories to look forward to.
See you in Beppu!