By Miguel Angel Cornelio Martínez
Back in my first months studying abroad and being an international student, I remember that one thing I constantly fought with was against the famous and inevitable homesickness. You may already know what this concept is about and specifically what causes its presence in your daily life, but if you have not yet, I hope that the following paragraphs help you to understand the concept and how to deal with it, at least in my personal perspective and experience. Months or even weeks before your departure to this new experience in your life, you might be absolutely excited to leave home and find your way leaving alone; however, it is easier to imagine it rather than actually live it.
In my opinion, an international student deals with homesickness at some point in their academic endeavors in one way or another. If you Google or dive through the web looking for a specific definition of homesickness you will probably find out that there are plenty. I would suggest that each of us has its own definition of the term based on its impact on ourselves. A general and pretty broad definition of homesickness would be the feeling or emotion of being away of home and trying to get familiarized with your new environment, as well as missing all those things that you appreciate the most; some people might miss their family, friends or partner, while others may desire to have material things with them like cars, clothes, house, among other things. To be honest, I felt both of the previous examples.
I have to admit that the first months in Austin, Texas, were not easy at all. Being completely alone, with no connections or friends in the city made it even more difficult because I had to build my own path and develop myself within society, which I found it hard at that time due to my intermediate level of English skills. I clearly remember there were a couple of times that I really wanted to call my parents and tell them I had given up to everything and I wanted to go back home. What I missed the most was my family and friends; I went from spending most of my time with them throughout a day to not seeing the people I love at all in just a matter of days. Moreover, I constantly had short periods of regret in terms of the material things I left behind like my car, clothes outfits I liked, and some other advantages that I had while living with my parents. The Mexican food was also one thing I missed the most, and although there are nice places in Austin where you can find good Mexican food, it is not the same thing.
The key here is to be patient and keep your attitude high. Without any doubts, leaving our home countries to accomplish our goals and dreams is such an amazing life experience, where we encounter plenty of challenges that must be overtaken, and definitely this feeling of homesickness is one of those. To be able to enjoy the rest of my days in Austin, I had to change my mindset and see my circumstances from a different perspective. At the end, being patient helped me to meticulously analyze every situation and wait for things or social relations to come, instead of trying to find them. Also, by keeping my attitude high I was able to transmit happiness and keep myself on track every day.
To sum up, homesickness is an emotion that we cannot avoid. Every single international student or foreign person will be impacted by it; however, it is for sure that the way homesickness affects people is different for every individual. If you think about it, it is easy to deal with this emotion after you learn how it works, and consequently success will knock your door in just a matter of time.
Let’s make history!
Miguel Angel Cornelio Martínez from Mexico City, Mexico, is studying at The University of Texas at Austin. Miguel finds Austin a great city to study abroad, and he enjoys spending time in its green parks.