Arriving in the US is a big moment for an international student.
It’s exciting: there’s new food, friends, and cultural experiences around every corner! However, as with most things, this newfound excitement will eventually wear off as the experience becomes routine. At this point, it’s common for international students to begin feeling a little homesick. And while it may come at different times—and in different intensities—for each student, this is simply a normal, expected part of the homestay experience.
But homesickness can have harmful effects too. Left unchecked, homesickness can cause students to withdraw from social life and pay less attention to their academics, goals, and personal happiness.
To help you help your students successfully move through these feelings of homesickness, we’ve asked some of our experienced host families for their best tips on dealing with the phenomenon:
Meet the Neighbors
- Get your students involved in the community.
Plan an adventure
- Go out to a movie. Go hiking. Go camping.
Check in around the holidays
- Students often can get homesick around times they would traditionally spend with their family back home.
Timing is important
- Give them a safe environment to tell you the truth about how they are feeling.
But more than anything, each of the host families we asked had one overarching tip…
Be patient—culture shock and homesickness are simply a part of the experience. In a short time they’ll adjust to their new surroundings and get used to their new home.