Feeling a bit homesick lately? Rest assured that it’s completely normal to feel a bit displaced or out-of-sorts while getting used to being in a brand new city.
Studying abroad takes guts; it means shaking up your routine, trying new things, and pushing beyond your habitual comfort zone. That’s what makes the adventure such a powerful, mind-opening, memory-making learning experience!
On the other hand, change can be challenging. So it’s okay to have an off day or two (or three!) where you miss the familiar routine of life back home.
Luckily, there are definitely some strategies you can use to get back in synch with your study abroad experience and truly make the most of your time in Rome.
Say so-long to homesickness with these five tips, and hello to a fun and fabulous Italian adventure.
1. Turn Your House into a Home by Decorating your Dorm Room
If you’re craving a little comfort and familiarity, try personalizing your dorm room with decorations that reflect your interests and evoke positive memories. Buy a couple of prints or postcards at a local shop, print out photos to make a collage on your wall, or add a couple of potted plants to your space.
Personalizing your room will help you feel more at home in your new surroundings – just make sure to ask your roommate or RA for permission first!
2. Establish a Daily Routine While You Study Abroad
Routines are another great way to fight that “uprooted” feeling that is often responsible for homesickness. We typically feel ill-at-ease without daily patterns we can anticipate and rely on – a normal challenge when you’re adjusting to a brand new environment, school, language, etc.
Establishing a sustainable new routine can be as simple as studying at your favorite coffee shop every Sunday, buying fresh bread at your local bakery every Monday, or arranging to meet friends for an espresso every Thursday after class.
Start small and then add new habits as you discover cool new hangouts, great new sites to visit around Rome, and other fun activities you want to include in your study abroad experience.
3. Try out Local Foods While You Study Abroad in Italy
One of the benefits of studying abroad in Rome (where mealtime is king) is getting to try new and delicious local foods. A frothy cappuccino, fresh pasta, or a rich cannoli can all be excellent comfort foods for an off day.
And if you want to meet new friends and build new memories, then why not try one of JCU’s cooking classes or Eating Italy tours? A fun afternoon trying out new foods and experiencing a new culture can help remind you just how rewarding the study abroad experience can be.
4. Make a Plan to Visit Neighboring Cities or Countries
Living and studying in Italy puts you just a short train or plane ride away from some of Europe’s top destinations. And, with regular long weekends, students at JCU have plenty of opportunities to enjoy them!
If you’ve been feeling left out from fun activities back home, then try signing off from social media for a weekend and visit the canals of Venice, the piazzas of Florence, or the pizzerias of Naples.
Or, if you want to go further abroad, why not venture into some of Italy’s neighboring countries? Our recent post, 5 Neighboring Countries to Visit While You Study in Italy, can help give you some ideas for your next trip.
5. Share Your Holiday Traditions with Other International Students in Italy
For many international students in Italy, one of the hardest parts of studying abroad is missing out on holidays you’re used to celebrating with family. As November approaches, holidays like Thanksgiving might remind students about fun traditions they normally celebrate back at home.
One way to help you battle the holiday blues is to share your traditions with new friends you’ve met in Rome. American students, for example, might invite classmates over for a Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, and – if you want to put your new cooking classes to the test – add some fresh pasta and a homemade dessert to your holiday table!
What other strategies do you use to ease feelings of homesickness while you study abroad in Italy?