3 tips for overcoming homesickness during your intensive English program

English as a second language school

Studying English in Canada is an amazing opportunity. You’ll get to explore a foreign country, meet interesting people, and learn a new language all at the same time. However, while studying abroad is an exciting experience, it is quite common to miss your home, family, and friends while you are away. Missing your home while you’re away even has its own word in English: homesickness.

If you’re feeling homesick, it is important to know that you are not alone. Missing your home life and culture is common, especially after the initial excitement of arriving in a new country fades. Luckily, most students learn to overcome homesickness so that they can continue enjoying their time abroad.

Here are 3 ways you can overcome homesickness:

1. Meet friends through social activities in your intensive English program

Having a circle of friends will help you feel less isolated while you study English abroad. However, making friends in a new country may feel difficult at first, especially when you don’t know many people. Fortunately, studying English makes meeting people much easier. Ask your classmates if they would like to form a study group or suggest and plan a visit to a local attraction. If reaching out to new people feels intimidating, take part in the social activities that your English as a second language school offers. For example, your school may offer social activities, such as field trips or board games nights. Attending these events can be a great way to meet new people.

Making friends with your classmates is a great way to overcome homesickness
Making friends with your classmates is a great way to overcome homesickness

2. Maintain connections with your home, but don’t dwell on social media

Another way to overcome homesickness is to maintain some connections to your home country. For example, you should call or chat online with friends and family back home regularly. It’s also a good idea to find a grocery store that sells imported food from your home country. This way, you can still enjoy some of the foods you love while you are away, and perhaps even share them with the new friends you make!

However, don’t dwell too much on what you are missing back home. While staying in touch with your friends is definitely a good idea, spending hours on social media looking at what they are doing is not. Try to limit your social media use to a few hours per week. Too much social media can make you feel lonelier, since you will feel as though you are missing out on events back home. Instead, focus on the friends you are making while you study English. Those friends may even be able to share tips about how they have overcome their own feelings of homesickness.

3. Stay open to exploring your new home when you study English abroad

The first week of arriving to a new country is usually the most exciting. Everything will seem new and fascinating. However, once this initial excitement wears off, it can be easy to take things for granted and to start to miss home. To combat this, seek out new experiences even after that first wave of excitement fades. Whether you study English in Ottawa or in London, Ontario, there are many incredible things to see and do after the first week.

For example, Ottawa has a lot of world-class cultural and historic attractions, such as the Rideau Canal—which you can skate on during the winter. London, meanwhile, is home to great festivals, including Sunfest, which is the second-largest world music festival in Canada. These are great attractions to explore on your own or with your classmates. Remaining open to exploring your surroundings and seeking new experiences will help you appreciate what an amazing opportunity studying abroad is.

Remember to keep exploring what makes your new home unique, like the Rideau Canal in Ottawa
Remember to keep exploring what makes your new home unique, like the Rideau Canal in Ottawa

Do you want to study English abroad?

Contact CultureWorks to learn more about our intensive English program!