Hanna is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Marketing, Finance, and International Business major at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, Carlson School of Management, she is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.
In this week's post, Hanna visits a historical Sydney site and tackles the issue of homesickness abroad as well as how to deal with it.
I've been slowly getting back into the routine of my program since we had a couple of events come up. Last Saturday, we went to the soccer game, which Aussies as well as Europeans call "football." This was an A-League Match; Sydney F.C. was playing against Sydney Wanderers, which was one of the highly anticipated rivalries.
Modern soccer was introduced in Australia in the late 19th century by mostly British immigrants. The oldest club in Australia currently in existence is Balgownie Rangers. They formed in 1883 in Wollongong. Soccer is the most played outdoor team sport in Australia, and ranks in the top ten for television audience. Although the match was quite boring in terms of playing technique and it ended tied with score of 2:2, I really enjoyed it and the atmosphere was amazing.
Another trip we had was a visit to Sydney Observatory. Firstly, I was hesitant whether to go because it was so late and the weather was somewhat unappealing. However, I am glad I ended up going! It was amazing. Built in 1858, Sydney Observatory is one of the most significant sites in Australian’s scientific history. Now known as Observatory Hill, the site was previously known as Windmill Hill, Citadel Hill, Fort Phillip and Flagstaff Hill. Each name indicates the site’s function over time all of which relied on it being the highest point over Sydney Harbor.
It contains 29cm lens telescope from 1874 (which is the oldest telescope in Australia in regular use), a 42cm computer-controlled telescope, and a hydrogen-alpha solar telescope. Visitors can view through it during booked sessions among many other activities.
At night, you could see stars, planets in the solar system, the Moon or even nebulae that are light years away. By day you can observe the active Sun with special lenses. I found this trip very knowledgeable and interesting. Thus, Sydney Observatory, in my opinion, should definitely be on you bucket list for Australia.
There is one last thing I would like to cover. Studying abroad and travelling to another country are both amazing and beneficial experiences of exploring new countries, cultures, and people. However, at the same time they are so different in terms of how they affect you as a person and a social individual. Recently, I have been noticing some shifts in people’s behaviors and attitudes, which is totally understandable. I think at this point students start feeling more and more homesick; more stress, more things to share, and more social media posts from friends and family members back at home.Unfortunately, the anxiety and sadness from these feelings could possibly be contagious, and result in some tension in your current environment.
Homesickness in not necessarily a bad thing and everyone goes through it at some point. I personally have been dealing with homesickness for the last 4-5 years while studying abroad in the U.S. and now here in Australia. My previous experience helped me realize how to deal and reduce the anxiety and stress from missing your home and loved ones. Thus, I want to share some of my thoughts and advice with you.
1. Stay busy
This one should be easy for us as we are students and most of us have internships here as well.
2. Think past FOMO
Keep in mind that even though your friends and relatives are posting all these cool photos of them having fun without you, they are probably as busy and stressed as you, if not more. And they definitely miss you and feel the same way looking at your posts.
3. Avoid procrastinating
Don’t save all the work until the last minute. I admit that I personally tend to procrastinate a lot and probably should not even give this advice; but I also know that when you have everything organized and scheduled, it is helping to reduce the stress from both school and personal life and leaves more time for fun things and trips.
4. Look ahead to the future
And last, but not least, look forward to what’s ahead. Think of all the amazing stories and photos you will have to share; think of the old friends you’ll see, and the new friends you’ve made that you might have a chance to reunion with again. Also, know that maybe you want to go home now, but once you are back you will start missing that unique time you had while studying abroad and might regret not doing and seeing things you could have while being abroad.
Remember that you will be only abroad for a semester (a summer or maybe a year), but that time goes by so fast. Don’t leave with regrets of not taking advantage of all the new opportunities. Even though it is hard to be away from your loved ones and from the place you feel comfortable, keep in mind that homesickness is just an emotion that can and will go away while your memories and experiences from studying abroad will stay with you forever. So, the next morning you wake up, do it with a smile of appreciation and a plan of action.
Hanna's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.