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Matheus

April 30th, 2024

How to deal with homesickness with the right approach

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Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Matheus

April 30th, 2024

How to deal with homesickness with the right approach

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Some people say that certain words are extremely difficult to translate — and I think they’re right. Regardless of how much you contextualise or give examples to illustrate what you mean, it’s complex trying to capture all the nuances in a language other than your native tongue. It’s like there’ll always be that familiarity to the ear missing, rendering the whole communication process that little bit incomplete.

One of my biggest struggles in the UK is trying to express how much I feel “saudade” of the things I left at home. Saudade is a rare word that is unique to Portuguese specifically. If you Google its meaning, saudade translates to “missing” and “longing.” But Portuguese speakers know that whilst it’s a correct interpretation, it’s just not quite right. There’s something missing — something lost in translation — and this feeling of absence is somewhat similar to homesickness.

It’s like when you’re hungry, but you’re hungry for the food that only someone special back home cooks for you. Or when you feel like going out, but only to that place you loved visiting back at home. Experiencing homesickness can be unpredictable, with its intensity fluctuating over time, so it can be helpful to learn how to effectively navigate it in the best way possible.

LSE is very cosmopolitan. LSESU clubs and societies are a great place to find people from your home country on campus  — especially in national and cultural LSESU societies. You may find a society filled with similar individuals who share your language, customs and traditions. Join events by becoming a member, or attend free give-it-a-go sessions as a non-member, which provide an opportunity to try out clubs and societies for free. Either way, this could a place where you can converse in your native language and feel more at home.

If you can’t find a society dedicated to your home country, you could always search for shops, groups, parties and events organised or owned by your local community based in London. It’s fairly easy to find a food street market stall or restaurant that sells classic dishes originating from a plethora of cultures. It might not be the same thing as home-cooked food — from personal experience, it can be a hit-or-miss — but it’s something that could help alleviate some of your homesickness.

Personally, when I feel homesick, I remind myself that this isn’t the end of the world. I know that all my friends and family who are at home are rooting for me — and, the best thing is, they’re just a video call away! Whenever I feel like it, I can always pick up my phone and replace the feeling of saudade with moments of reconnection with loved ones and, most importantly, reconnection with myself and with the purpose that brought me here in the first place.

To summarise, the most important thing that you can do when managing homesickness is to try to assign a new meaning to it. Feeling homesick can be a good sign; it means you have a place where you feel you belong and can go back to. Furthermore, home doesn’t necessarily have to be tied to a place from the past; you can find home in a new home — someone — or even something!

Feeling homesick isn’t something that needs translation because it’s something intelligible only to you. Learn how to reconnect with your purpose whenever you’re feeling homesick, and attribute kinder meanings to how you feel when you’re missing home.

About the author

Matheus

Matheus Almeida is a master’s student, studying Media and Communications (Data and Society) with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations. Born and raised in the Brazilian state of Bahia. Highly interested in social media infrastructures and data applications. Main hobbies are dancing, partying, and dancing in parties as if nobody is watching.

Posted In: Student life

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