I hope you are ready for the cold weather in England. Winter is coming.
It’s been a month since the new academic year started.
How are you doing? I know it’s been different from our usual year because of this difficult time, and for those away from home I know this can lead to feeling homesick.
I was born and grew up in Kyoto, Japan. I did my undergraduate degree in Kyoto, so commuted from my parent’s house. After graduating, I went abroad to Hawaii, U.S. for two months to study English and after that, I worked in Ohio, in the U.S. for two years. So I got used to living far away from my family and friends back in Japan. However, it is still tough to come to a country where I don’t know anybody and people don’t know anything about me. I cannot get any authentic Japanese food (though Shiki in the city centre is good), any of my favourite clothes shops, most importantly, no one speaks Japanese! (Not no one but not many people speak Japanese in the UK) Well, I did know this would happen before I came to the UK, however, these could be the cause for homesickness.
“Homesickness has everything to do with attachment.” – Dr. Joshua Klapow
You may get homesick even if you are in the same country, because you cannot go to the coffee shop you always went to. Even the Tesco is different from the one near your home. A new environment is likely to have things that remind you of your ‘home’ but it isn’t the same. When I want to call my family at 5pm, it is 2am in Japan, however, during the day, I cannot call them because of my work.
It is OKAY and NORMAL to feel homesick. There’s nothing wrong with missing the things that are familiar to you.
Do I have homesickness? What is a symptom?
- a disturbed sleeping pattern
- feeling angry, nauseous, nervous or sad
- feeling isolated, lonely or withdrawn
- feeling overwhelmed, insecure, anxious or panicky
- feelings of low self-esteem or self-worth
- a lack of appetite or concentration.
(As noted by prospects.ac.uk).
It may be hard to notice by yourself. Even if you think you are okay, your body reacts more than you think it does. I cannot remember where I read this, but stress is like a cup of water. When you hold a cup of water for 10 seconds, it’d be easy for you, and even 10 minutes may not be a problem. However, if you need to hold a cup of water for 24 hours, your arm would get numb or you may not even continue. What this is trying to say is that you cannot see the stress, but it can unconsciously build up.
If you feel lonely and miss your home, there are many ways you can manage homesickness.
There are a lot of events happening at UEA every day. You can always find something to do from our website and twitter. You may find a drop-in session for the clubs and societies such as badminton and judo. It’s never too late to do something different.
Joining the clubs and societies is also good way to meet someone who shares the same interest as you. If you cannot find any favourites, you can always create a new society.
If you feel alone, I’d recommend going to some place where you can switch your mind on to other things, for example, the library, the Sainsbury Centre and the Scholars bar in Union House (only postgraduates and mature students can visit) are some of my favourite places on campus. According to the new guidelines by the government, the university will remain open. You may study in the library (as of 2 November), however, the situation may change so please check the latest information from UEA. Postgraduate students will be able to study in the scholars bar during lockdown, but again you need to follow the government guidance. Meeting new people and friends is important but do not forget to contact your family and friends from your home at the same time. Even once a week or month, it is helpful to have a connection with your home.
UEA Wellbeing Service team also have three different workshops every week. The workshops are about stress, If you want to participate in the workshop, please email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prospect.ac.uk suggests that you should avoid:
- bottling up your feelings
- locking yourself away in your room
- rejecting opportunities to meet new people
- failing to attend lectures and seminars
- drinking alcohol more than you normally would
In this difficult time, it can be hard to avoid the above, however, we will have more opportunities for you to avoid these behaviours. Please explore our website to find out something exciting, and always do feel free to ask our wonderful advice team for help and support. For the other helpful resources, please check the information below.
Helpful Telephone numbers:
- Samaritans: 116 123
- The University Medical Service: 01603 251600
- Urgent Medical Advice: 111
- UEA security: 01603 592222
- Medical Emergencies: 999
National anonymous listening services:
If you have a question, please feel free to drop me a message.