Hey there! My name is Malumbo, but nearly everyone at uni calls me Lumo. I'm an international student from............ well that's a funny story. My passport says I'm Zambian and I know I am right down to the bone, but I don't live there. My other passport says I'm South African and you would probably think I was since I grew up there for quite a bit, but once again I don't live there. I live in Switzerland. Can I call myself Swiss? Well... I don't know; ask me in a few years. And that's just the brink of all the moving I've done. I've lived in 8 different countries, which means starting a new life 7 different times (though predominantly most of it was spent in South Africa).
So you would think that by now the concept of homesickness would be alien to me. Wrong. During that period of moving I was always with my family or at least one family member so I was never really on my own. At uni though, in a different country away from my family where I didn't even know one person before coming, is where I truly knew that I was on my own. So I did what any international student does when that happens, communicate with home quite a bit. For me it was three times a week. After two months I began to miss home. I developed the dreaded "homesickness".
This went on for a few days until I decided enough was enough. I was like, "Oi Lumo! This can't run, we need a solution".
And then the markers and white board came out. Whenever I'm trying to sort out a problem I take out the white board and this was definitely a white board moment. So RULE ONE, get a white board. As a title I wrote: WHAT I MISS FROM HOME. And then begun jotting down the things I missed: food, family, stuff to do. Yeah I know that's a short list. RULE TWO - FOOD, I couldn't eat spaghetti everyday. So I decided to learn how to make food from home and also how to find the ingredients. Now to brag, but I think I've got it down, I'm an Nshima connoisseur. So food, check.
RULE THREE and FOUR - FAMILY, that's a tough one. Now everyone has a different levels of communication with their family and therefore have different reactions to communicating with them. For me I found that I missed home more. The stories they would tell me of things they were doing, things they saw and things I was missing out on made me want to go home. So I decided to reduce the amount of communication I have with them. Now that may be the opposite for some of you, you may need to talk with home more to feel less homesick. For me though I had to reduce the long communication. Now that was good for me, but I had to replace that communication. This is where my experience of moving around and starting over came in together with all the Fast and Furious movies I had watched. I had to do a Dominic Toretto and create my own "family" from my friends. Yes, all of you that call yourselves my friends were unknowingly in a job interview to be my Romans, Brians, Hobbs, Tejs and Mias. I see these people nearly everyday; I talk to them nearly all the time, so why wouldn't they be my family? Anyway, that was solved. I also tried to find people that were from countries similar to mine so that I could have that person that relates.
Now came RULE FIVE - STUFF TO DO, because no one likes being bored. I had to do stuff, I couldn't sit in my room all day or else I'd sleep. So I got involved in everything. Football, societies, salsa, running, visiting friends, church, traveling, you name it. My hand was in nearly every pot. Over time though i specialized and did the few things that I did enjoy, like football (lowkey this is a shout out to anyone that wants to have a kick about).
Now that worked for me, it may be different for you. The most important thing is that you have to be proactive in finding a solution for your homesickness. If it means getting involved then get involved, if it means telling someone about it then tell someone, but don't sit in your room and start counting down the days till you go home. "That can't run".