A home away from home: how to overcome homesickness?
‘A home away from home.’ You may find yourself in such a situation if you decide to study in Singapore as an international student. While there are so many cool things about studying in the island nation, your life wouldn’t be extremely easy and without challenges in the beginning. After all, you are living in a foreign country, away from your loved ones and your familiar environment. But don’t worry. Digital Senior is here to help! Read some of the tips below that can effectively help you adjust to the local life.
Miss mom and dad?
Yes, homesickness may start to develop once you arrive in Singapore. Even for adults coming from other countries who are working here, they may still miss home. Hence it is perfectly normal for students like you, who are under the care of parents for so many years, to start missing your family. But there are ways to lessen the feeling of wanting to go back. With the advancement in technology, you can always schedule face-to-face chat with your parents (you know it better than Digital Senior). If you find calling them expensive, there are so many call-back cards that let you make overseas call without incurring local charges.
Make friends with your “countrymen”
However, you can’t be on the line with your parents all the time. You need to socialize with people in Singapore. In fact, making connections is the best way to reduce homesickness, as your friends can be your extended family. You can always make friends with people coming from the same country first. You may be living in the same hostel or studying in the same school. Go talk to them. Your similar background is a powerful catalyst for friendship.
Make friends with the Singaporeans
And then you will recognize that you are living in a different country and your purpose of studying abroad is actually to broaden your experiences. Hence you need to make friend with local students as well. Singaporean students are generally friendly and open to making international friends. In fact, the multi-cultural nature of the society already accustoms them to interacting with people from different backgrounds. Talk to them in class or in the school clubs. Join their outings and get to know them on a more personal basis.
However, if language is a barrier to you, you also need to be confident. The Singaporeans know that you come from a non-English speaking country and you are not entirely comfortable with speaking English. Hence they won’t demand you to speak like a BBC broadcaster. They mostly will slow down and listen more carefully as you speak. While you can memorize vocabulary and write essays in the classroom, you will only learn to speak when you are actually speaking. Hence making friends with Singaporeans benefits you beyond just reducing your homesickness. It improves your language capability and social confidence.
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Oh, I miss the food in my country
Now that you know how to make friends in Singapore, you may still have one problem: food. Even though Singapore has cuisines from different countries, it may not have the one coming from your hometown. Facing this problem, you may want to bring some food from your hometown over to Singapore. And you can cook them here occasionally just to satisfy your appetite. Moreover, even you may not be able to find the food you want in formal restaurants, there are many places in Singapore with restaurants opened by foreigners who may come from your hometown. Try to ask among your friends, or search the Internet to discover the ‘taste of home’. Try Hungrygowhere.
Know the emergency help
Lastly, you should know the emergency help available for you. We all fall sick from time and time. Falling sick makes you miss home much more. Hence you want to get effective medical attention and recover as soon as possible. As the medical bill in Singapore is expensive, it is advisable that you buy some kind of insurance that subsidize your medical expenditure. And exercise more. Many Singaporeans have the good habit of exercising, such as going to gym, running and more. Join them! Exercise makes you feel happy. That’s scientifically proven. If you really want to confide in someone who can keep your sharing in secret, you may want to approach the counsellors in your school. All schools in Singapore have counsellors who are ready to listen, advise and help. Knock on their door and let them be your help.
The above are tips for you to initially adjust to living in Singapore. Digital Senior just wants to stress the importance of developing friendship. We are social animals, but by living overseas, you suddenly break away from your previous circle of relationship. Try to build new one here. And Singapore will really become your second home.