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Posts Tagged ‘homesickness’

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

How do you deal with homesickness when you’re studying in Australia?

You’ve got your confirmation of enrolment, your short-term accommodation arranged, and you’re almost packed and ready to go.

What have you forgotten?

How do you deal with homesickness when you're studying in Australia?

You’re not alone—tips to survive homesickness

Believe it or not, one of the most frequent concerns OzTREKK students encounter is homesickness. In theory, you feel prepared for your journey to Australia, and you’re excited to begin this new stage in your life, so it may come as a surprise to you to find you are missing family members and the comforts of home more than you expected.

This is totally normal!

In general, homesickness kicks in as soon as the frenetic pace of starting your classes and familiarizing yourself with your campus has morphed into routine. What then?

Well, first, it can be very helpful to not ignore the possibility of homesickness before you leave. People think it won’t happen to them and that’s the first big mistake. If you accept the fact that you might be homesick, it will make things easier. Being prepared helps, too.

Because we love to stay in touch with our students, many have shared their tips to deal with homesickness when they’re studying in Australia, and of course we’re going to share them with you!

Bring the familiar

Sometimes just the sight of photos of your family members is enough to snap you out of the homesickness funk. If there is something small and light that can fit easily into your suitcase and you think it will help, bring it along!

Get Skype

Of course you already know this one! Skype gives you instant access to family and friends back home, and it’s cheap. Once you’ve figured out the time zone differences, you’re good to go!

Explore your surroundings

You’re in your room, staring at the wall. It’s time to get out of there! When feeling homesick, one of the worse things you can do is to mope around feeling sorry for yourself. Getting out of your place and exploring your city is a great distraction from any home-related anxieties. It also helps you become familiar with your surroundings and that in itself can be comforting. Take some time to stroll through the park or the area where you live. Actually look at the buildings. Find one near your home that will help be a beacon of familiarity.

Look after yourself

If you’re stuffing your face with junk food and forgetting to exercise, you can bet your mental health will be heading into a downward spiral. And if that happens, who will have the energy or desire to study? It sounds simple, but eating healthily and getting some exercise and regular sleep can really help to boost your well-being.

Give yourself time and praise

Okay, it’s been two weeks and you still haven’t snapped out of it. No worries. Take an evening to yourself to examine your reason for being in Australia: to study and to get that degree! That in itself is an amazing, brave thing, so be proud of yourself. Do you know how many people are too scared to do what you’ve just done? Give yourself a pat on the back and know that you have what it takes to not only get your degree, but also to have an great time doing it! Positive self-talk is healthy and will counteract the negative emotions you may be feeling.

Meet other Canadians

Know that you’re not alone. Meeting fellow Canadians is an instant pick-me-up. OzTREKK hosts orientation sessions for new students, giving them an immediate access to multiple Canadian connections on campus. We also provide you with a “Student Contact List” that lists everyone who is in your university and program. Not everyone chooses to attend our orientations or to be on this list, but we recommend that you do! If you’re interested, please be sure to contact your OzTREKK admissions officer. And guess what? This also gives you the opportunity to support others who may be feeling homesick.

One day at a time

Sometimes it’s easier to take it one day at a time. Setting mini-goals or achievements for your stay helps, too! It might be helpful to take each part of the process in steps: Made it to Vancouver, made it to Sydney, made it to the hotel. Day one done, day two done, etc. It’s a handy little trick and before you know it, you’re on day 248. Easy-peasy.

Keep a journal or a blog

Another handy-dandy OzTREKK student tip? Writing in a journal or starting an “Adventures in Australia” blog or vlog is an excellent way to keep track of your progress—and to share your experiences with everyone back home. If you can regularly keep up with an online blog (even Facebook or Twitter posts), you will receive encouraging messages from everyone! At the end of your journey, you will have an amazing record of your time in Australia. Show your grandkids. Also, we love following our students on social media!

Ask for help

Sometimes, even after attempting the above, you still may find yourself missing home a little too much, and this is where Anxiety likes to step in and reek havoc. Worrying about your studies or your finances will only make things worse, so take steps to sort any issues out or get support as soon as they arise. Your university has international student support groups, as well as student groups. Ask your university for a list of groups or student counsellors or upper-year students who may be able to help, then contact them!

Even though it may feel like it sometimes, you’re not alone. Many people have endured homesickness and have come out on the other side happier, stronger, and braver. You can do it!

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We hope this list helps you feel more prepared for your journey to study in Australia! Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns—we’re here to help: info@oztrekk.com

Friday, October 27th, 2017

Lindsay’s tips: random things from home to take with you to Australia

Hey, OzTREKKers! Meet Lindsay Rewi, a “behind the scenes” admissions officer here at OzTREKK. Lindsay works with Admissions Officer Heather Brown on all the rehabilitation sciences and various other undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Lindsay's tips: random things from home to take with you to Australia

Hanging out with the roos

Have you applied to optometry, occupational therapy, underwater archaeology? Thank Lindsay for handling all your application files and making sure everything is submitted correctly to the universities!

OK, we’ll let Lindsay take over now.

Lindsay’s tips:  Random things from home to take with you to Australia (because you will miss them!)

I spent a year in Australia, both working and exploring back in 2008 and I would like to share with you a few things I wish I had brought with me from home, as I missed them almost immediately….

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (or any chocolate with peanut butter). This isn’t really a thing in Australia. Many people didn’t even know you can do peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. I am not kidding. So weird.

Lindsay's tips: random things from home to take with you to Australia

Take time to enjoy your trip!

I am a hot sauce fan, especially Frank’s RedHot sauce, and I couldn’t find this anywhere over there. Super depressing! So if you are like me, you better plan to bring a big bottle with you! (Although pack some soft stuff around it in your suitcase so you don’t end up with a hot sauce explosion in your bag!)

If you are going to be in Australia at Christmas time, bring a few Christmas reminders from home to help with the holidays. I found it super hard to get ready for Christmas in 40° heat and beach days. So my mom sent me a care package with all my favourite Christmas movies, my stocking (filled with Canadian treats) and a few decorations from the tree that reminded me of home.

For my carry-on luggage, I opted for a hiking backpack with a laptop compartment and expandable areas, so that I could also use it for travel and adventures once in Australia. This was such a smart purchase and I highly recommend it!

Aside from that, my greatest tip is to make the most of your time! Do as many adventures and day trips that you can. See everything! Take risks! You’ll come back with sooo many incredible stories. 😊

Bon Voyage!

Lindsay
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Are you getting ready to study in Australia? Need extra tips? Contact OzTREKK at info@oztrekk.com.