Very homesick and would like some advice?
I have been on my year abroad for less than a week in Forli in Italy studying at the University of Bologna in Forli, and then I will be going to the University of Geneva in Geneva in Switzerland. But, since arriving, I have become very homesick and I am trying to keep myself busy but it does not always work. I am an introverted person naturally and I don't yet feel comfortable telling my new flatmates how I am feeling. My Italian is not very good either and I feel like that is affecting me too. Does anyone have any advice please?
This question was asked on 29th September 2015 and has been read 3914 times.
Hi there! I just thought I'd let you know that even though I've finished now this time two years ago I was feeling exactly the same as you! My first question is are there any other people from your university at Forli too? If there are get in touch because even if you don't know them well it's always nice to have someone from 'home' to talk to and they might be feeling the same. The second bit is have you gone to any of the Erasmus meet ups yet? There are always people there ready to make friends, people who are feeling exactly like you but you have to go and look for them to find them. There will be people from all over the place with all languages - often English is the most known as well so if you're not feeling comfortable yet there is that security blanket! It took me a good few weeks to settle into things, I felt the same that my Italian wasn't good enough or that I was feeling shy but I pushed myself to spend time with my housemates - even though I didn't say much I would sit there listening to try and absorb as much as I could. I promise you though, once you've settled down it will all get so much easier. I started my year abroad crying because I missed my family so much and ended up crying because I didn't want to leave and go home. It will get better just give it time! Other things like watching English tele are also a good way of easing your homesickness. Hope you feel better soon! Go out and enjoy it - eat pasta and drink coffee! :)
I studied in Forli for a term a year and a half ago. The thing about the University of Bologna that can make routine homesickness feel worse is the fact that they're hopelessly disorganised so getting settled in can be particularly difficult in Forli.
A good start would be to get your Erasmus welcome pack from the International Office (not sure if you've already done this). Make yourself known to KoinÃ© the international student organisation as they will be able to help you out with any erasmus study related issues and, plus, they put on some good social events and you can meet people of all nationalities there who are all very friendly.
If you need immediate answers to admin stuff then the SSLMIT segretaria on Corso della Repubblica is a good port of call. In terms of improving your Italian and being introverted by nature, I would go along to the student nights out put on at Moquette and Pride, where you can meet other people in the same boat as you and meet Italian students as well.
Hope this helps.
I can empathise with your situation - whilst I was abroad last year I also felt homesick, especially as I was living alone. I found that it helped to set up a regular routine around my work (I was a Language Assistant) - e.g. meeting other assistants for a drink; spending some time working on my language skills to increase my confidence - usually through watching TV shows/films in that language, sometimes with subtitles; skyping home/friends if I really needed someone to talk to; and making the most of any local events. It's really easy to get upset and feel like no one else feels the same - but trust me, there will be others in the same position. As you're studying at a university, I would recommend investigating any events that they have - especially Erasmus ones as mentioned by the others above - as this will enable you to meet others, who are probably having similar thoughts. I also found that getting outside and doing something active helped - I liked just walking through the park, or going for hikes in the mountains as it cleared my mind a bit. Regarding your Italian - you're probably a lot better at it than you give yourself credit for! I remember being worried about my French this time last year and thinking I had forgotten a lot over the summer! In all honesty, people don't mind if you make mistakes so don't let that hold you back :) There are also lots of articles on the Third Year Abroad website itself with suggestions for how to combat homesickness. Good luck for your time abroad and I hope you feel better soon!
I too was incredibly homesick on my year abroad, to the point of looking at return flights and trying to figure out if I could still graduate without doing it. The first week was unbearable, and I felt like nothing would ever make me enjoy my stay. I won't lie, I never LOVED it away from home. But I coped. And I definitely had some great experiences. As clichÃ© as it sounds, it honestly will get better. Just thought getting used to it. My best advice is to try to make a friend or two. Preferably someone in a similar situation. I met another English girl and we spent most of our time together and got through it side by side. Looking back, the whole experience really did improve me as a person. I used to be shy and quiet whereas now nothing phases me. Im much more confident and have come out of my shell simply through having no choice but to do so on my year abroad. I hope this helps and gives you a little hope. X
I'm on my year abroad in Paris right now, and am feeling exactly the same as you! I can't really give you much advice, since I'm feeling the same, but if you want to add me on facebook or something and we can chat/complain or whatever if you want? I know it'll get better, but sometimes it's better to just know that someone else is in the same position! x
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