International students share homesickness stories, tips for living abroad

For many students, moving away from home to attend college is a huge adjustment. 

International students can have even higher stakes, as they may not know what to expect when moving to a foreign country with unfamiliar customs.

With family and friends many miles away, it isn’t a surprise that these students, and even those who are simply out-of-state, can start to become homesick. 

Mechanical engineering alumnus Baljinder Singh Sidhu is originally from Uttar Pradesh in northern India. Adjusting to American life wasn’t difficult, he said, but he did have to learn to follow certain rules. 

Sidhu said he gets homesick sometimes, and it’s worse when he sees his parents and relatives at a wedding or birthday party. 

He deals with homesickness by watching movies or playing cricket with friends, which is a popular sport in his home country. 

Sidhu said he talks to his mother the most when feeling homesick. He normally talks with his father for a few minutes, and the rest of his time is spent with his mother.  

Jae-sik Choi, a transportation engineering doctoral student from Seoul, South Korea, said he spent two and a half years in Arizona earning his masters before moving to Texas in 2019.   

Now in his third year, Choi said it wasn’t difficult adjusting to the U.S. because of his past experience in the army.  

But whenever he does feel homesick, Choi said he calls his friends and family back home, after first making sure it’s a good time. 

Political science freshman Abd Almoamen Keshlaf said although it wasn’t difficult to adjust, he hasn’t fully adapted to life in the U.S. and feels homesick for his family and friends in other countries. 

Keshlaf was born in Tripoli, Libya, but only lived there for two years. He lived in several other places before the U.S., including France and Dubai.  

When it comes to advice for other students who may feel homesick, Sidhu said they should try to think more practically. 

If a person can understand and just embrace getting out of their comfort zone, they can stay anywhere in this world, he said.  

@JMarieFarmer84

features-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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