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Studying abroad is an amazing experience, yet many of us are likely to experience mild or even severe homesickness during this time period whether we’re in Ireland or Australia. However, don’t let this feeling get you down because even packing some little, sentimental things beforehand to help you through if this does happen…
1) A family photo or card
Now we all know that our family can be extremely annoying sometimes, sometimes you hate them and other times you value you them more than anything else on the planet, so having a simple photo of them on your bedside table will be a nice reminder of your loving family if you’re feeling homesick at any point. As sad as it sounds, if you’re studying in a country with a differing time zone that makes communication a bit of a faff then you will be grateful to have the faces of your loved ones nearby to have a chat to… (I’ll be the first to admit that I talk to myself and somehow talking to a photo of other humans is better than none at all?)
If a family photo is too mainstream for you then how about getting your family to each write you a message specifically for if you’re feeling homesick abroad. Don’t look at the messages beforehand and let your family write them in their own time but when they give them to you, don’t peek and put them straight in an envelope in a safe place. In a few months, if you’re feeling sad, this is the perfect time for the envelope to make an appearance!
2) A cuddly toy
Many of us (I hope) still have a cuddly toy from our childhood that we still value highly, be it a raggedy panda with one ear or a blanket that is twenty years old. It may sound silly but having something you are so used to seeing at home in your new home is likely to help you acclimatise. If you’re not a cuddly toy kind of person, I like to think that this would work with most things, from posters that you’ve had in your uni bedroom or the duvet cover that you have on your bed at home – by having them in your new bedroom it will make it more familiar when you return from a day of studying in your new country!
3) A mini printer
It’s unlikely that you’re going to lug your HP printer overseas but as every student ever will tell you, do not underestimate the power of covering every available space in your bedroom with photos of friends, family and fun that you’ve had! Now, you could keep buying disposable cameras and cover your walls with artsy pics from wherever you travel to but for some (me), using a disposable camera can be problematic – I always cover the lens with my finger or the sun blurs everyone out so the photos don’t end up looking as Pinterest as I would like. I have been seeing more and more adverts for ‘mini printers’ such as Hp’s Sprocket Photo Printer which, yes, costs an arm and a leg but I feel like would be used enough to justify the price of it.
Even though these are only a few simple things to pack in advance of your year abroad, I think they will be greatly valued when you’re feeling a bit under the weather. You can have a chat to your family photo until your flatmates think you are crazy, read the messages from your family members, have a cuddle with the panda you’ve had since you were 2 and print out some photos of the incredible memories you are making wherever you are!