It’s November. I’ve been in Europe for two months and I miss home. I miss my family and their warmth. I miss my dog (sorry Kenya) and the autumn leaves. I even miss vegetables, which is incredible for me. For those unfamiliar with Madrid, its geographical location makes produce expensive in comparison to the US. I don’t want to leave, not yet. But, I miss home for sure. Here are some tips to deal with homesickness while abroad:
I talk to my family all the time. I do it while home at Tufts and I do it here. If I’m taking a walk, I call someone. If I’m going shopping, I call someone. Speaking with friends, I know this isn’t the norm. Sometimes my friends don’t speak to their family for weeks. So, my advice would be to reach out to your family if you’re feeling a little homesick. Tell them about your day or what you’re looking forward to. They’ll love it and you’ll feel better too.
I have found it sometimes can be difficult to make time for friends during the week, especially while taking classes at the UAM. I’m usually between the UAM campus and the program center, which can make lunch and coffee dates difficult to coordinate. If you’re feeling a little homesick, make sure to make the effort to schedule lunch with a friend. I know everyone will tell you to speak Spanish all the time while in Spain, but have a conversation in English. I won’t tell anyone, promise.
For me, food is one of things that most ties me to my roots. I have found some Brazilian food in Madrid, but it was a little expensive and not the most authentic. But, it was still nice to have black beans and rice. The other day I was craving Shake Shack and found a copycat in the Sol area called Steak and Shake, which was actually really good. Check it out!
Talk to your program staff
If you’re homesickness persists, talk to program staff. The Tufts-Skidmore program has some great people that you should definitely reach out to if you need anything. They’ll probably have better ideas than I do.
Treat yo’ self!
Self-care is so important, especially while you’re abroad! Know that you’re in an unfamiliar culture and that it’s tough to deal with that sometimes. So, go get your nails done! Get a massage! Take a nap! Take a walk through Retiro! Read a trashy novel! Catch up on the entire fourth season of Scandal! Get an ice cream cone on the walk home from the metro station! TREAT YO’ SELF!
Make Spain your home
Sometimes it’s much easier to see the negatives of a situation than the positives. Like you’ll be at the supermarket frustrated that bananas cost a euro each or you’ll hate having to kiss five different people on the cheek twice within the span of one minute. But it’s important to remember the positives of living abroad in a new culture. It
really is an incredible opportunity, even if bananas do cost a euro each. So remember the cafes con leche, walks through Retiro and conversations with friends, those are the things that really define your time abroad. Ok…maybe not the cafes con leche.
I hope my tips leave you feeling a little less homesick!