Monday, October 17, 2016

Fighting off the Home Sickiness Blues

It is hard to believe that we are already over a month into the school year!  It seems like just yesterday you guys were milling around PLU for the first time semi-lost, confused and anxious to get adjusted.  Now all of you are balancing classes and navigating the American college life like pros!

First off please take a moment to pat yourself on the back and look at all of the progress you have made in the past month.  This being said you may have noticed that the glimmer and shine of PLU and America in general has lost it's sparkle.  You may find yourself longing for the comforts of home like you favorite foods, and being able to communicate in your own language.  At the same time you have probably become increasingly annoyed with some American customs (Seriously, why do we ask you how you are doing, but don't actually wanna know?). 

If this is your first time away from home this long please know that these feelings are completely normal, and it will get easier as time goes on.  Statistically speaking it is after the first month that home sickness really starts to set in for students studying abroad.  The newness of the country has worn off and is no longer something exciting and different.

I know that this affected me greatly while I was studying abroad in Spain.  So, from one foreign exchange student to another; here are some tips to help manage your homesickness!

Change up your Routine!
     -So let's start simple.  Changing up the way you do things can help relieve some of the staleness that has come into your routine.  This can be as easy as finding a new place/ time to study, getting into a new show or book, or joining a club on campus.  Not only will it help vary your schedule, but you are more likely to meet new people this way.  You would be surprised how a small change can make a big difference.

     -I am sure many of you know that exercise releases feel good endorphins, but it also helps regulate your sleep schedule and encourages proper hydration!  Treating your body right can really help improve your mood, or at the very least makes it easier to enjoy life.

Explore the Tacoma Area!
     -Did you know that on the third Thursday of the month you can get into any of the 7 museums in Tacoma for free?!?!?!  This is just one of the many options you have for exploring Tacoma.  Being able to discover and do new things can help distract you from missing home while exposing you to new and exciting possibilities! For more fun (and most importantly) inexpensive ideas please visit by following the link below.

Explore Washington State!

     -There are many things that can be offered by both sides of the state (as they are pretty different).  On the west-side there is of course Seattle and other bigger cities that have plenty of entertainment and beautiful sights to offer.  This being said there are also a plethora of small towns along the coast that have a unique tourist atmosphere that is quintessential to the Washington and Oregon coast.  On the East-side there is of course bigger cities like Spokane that can offer beautiful views and fun activities, but it is also a lot of fun to explore smaller towns like Walla Walla, and look at the beautiful landscape that differs radically from the west-side.  Not only will little trips like this brighten your mood, but they will also give you a better understanding of the state you are living in! For other options follow the link below.
Travel the Country!
     -There are so many different states to explore (50 to be exact :P) and because the U.S is so big each one has many things to offer.  Plus having an exciting trip in mind can help stave off the homesick blues.  That being said make sure you start planning now so you can keep cost down!

This list cannot fix everything (I am unfortunately not a miracle worker) but it can help you through this tough adjustment period while adding some fun and peace of mind to your routine.  I hope that the rest of the semester treats you well and that you have fun exploring all of what America has to offer you!

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