How to Stay Connected with your Family and Friends Back Home

how to overcome homesickness when studying abroad, studying abroad, rome, john cabot university, jcu campus, how to stay in contact with family studying abroadStarting college is an exciting moment in every student’s life. Many of us move away from home completely, even going to another city, state, or country. But even if you stay at home or close to home, the dynamics and routines of your daily life change. College gives us the opportunity to meet new people that will definitely mark our lives, and we start an inner search of who we truly are, what we like, and what we want to do with the rest of our lives. That’s when life starts getting busier, and it’s very common for many of us to slow the exchange in communication with our family and friends back home.

As soon as I got to John Cabot University, I started getting involved in many clubs and associations. I also wanted to work, and on top of this I wanted to experience life – travel, meet new people, go to shows and restaurants, and just do everything that was possible and out of the ordinary. I went crazy! Besides my school responsibilities, I was in constant search of things to do. They varied from hiking to trying new foods to heading to the beach, or whatever event was going on.

Taking the story a little back… I come from a very close-knit family in which communication is essential. I was raised to go to my grandparents’ house on weekends, where I would see all my relatives. My friends from back home have been with me since we were in pre-kindergarten until we graduated from high school. All these people were basically my everything… until I started university. This may sound selfish or wrong – and I totally agree with you. I don’t like feeling disconnected from the people that have known me forever, but it happens, and it happens to more people than you can imagine.

I recall many times I told my parents and brother I would call them later because I was busy. Many times I had a skype date with my girlfriends from back home, but I had to reschedule it because my friends here were going somewhere and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. Recently I was talking with one of my best friends, Marifer, and she told me how she feels disconnected from everyone back home too. We came to the conclusion that it’s because we are all growing. We are all meeting new people, discovering ourselves, adapting to different cities, and adapting to adulthood in general.

This is not an excuse, but simply a fact of life that many of us go through. I think it would bring you such internal peace and happiness to connect back with the ones who truly know you. With today’s technology, it is so easy to use FaceTime, Skype, Whatsapp calls (I think it is more personal to actually hear the person’s voice), or social media in general. The only problem with this is that we need to make time. But it is doable: we just have to stop making excuses!

Here are a few tips on how to reconnect back to your family and friends back home:how to overcome homesickness when studying abroad, studying abroad, rome, john cabot university, jcu campus, how to stay in contact with family studying abroad

MAIL: Everybody loves to receive real mail! It doesn’t matter if it is a care package or a postcard. So, depending on your budget, send something to that special someone on a random day. And believe me, you’ll make their day! (Don’t worry about cost – if your budget is tight, send a postcard! It only costs a couple euros and it still shows that you were thinking about that person.)

SOCIAL MEDIA: Admit it, we are all on social media! Just take the time and send a personalized message or a fun link to someone. It will not take you much time and it will make you feel connected with the other person.

VISIT EACH OTHER: Depending on the distance this might be a little expensive, but it is something that should be done at some point. In-person contact is valuable, and the time spent together would be wonderful for your relationship. This might sound cliché, but don’t think of this as an expense, but as an investment. The memories you would make from this visit would last a lifetime – and what makes up life is the people and the memories, not the money you have saved in your bank account.

Communication is a matter of making an effort. You don’t have to make schedules or be in touch 24/7 with the people you care about. But simply know that you are there for one another, because relationships are what make up life.


Victoria Barreda de Alba

International Business Major

Class of 2017

Hometown: Reynosa, Mexico

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