Homesickness is a natural part of traveling far from home and even seasoned travelers can get homesick. It’s important that you don’t let this prevent you from getting the most out of your experience, or participating in an extended travel program. While there isn’t one standard cure for homesickness, we have some ideas on how to help after 30+ years in the field.
Moving Past Homesickness
Dragons programs were created to support you through the inevitable ups and downs of traveling far from home. Here are a few ways that our program can help you move past homesickness and get the most out of your immersive travel experience:
- On your Summer or Gap Year Program, you will be with a small group of 12 students and 3 instructors. Your cohort will become like a family, and you’ll build deeper connections and meaning through shared experiences on your program.
- Don’t forget you’ll be connecting with your peers and a group of people who have similar interests — you all chose this program for a reason and can connect over your shared curiosity and goals.
- The Independent Study Project program component helps you bring your interests to life through your day-to-day travels. Students do all kinds of independent study projects such as jewelry making, learning about local healing practices, drumming, weaving, ceramics, meditation, language studies, and more!
- Spend time with your homestay family. Get to know them, ask questions, engage with the local language, etc — because the families bring Dragons’ students into their homes not as a visitor but as a member of the family. Hearing their stories and learning more about their lives can help you be more present.
- You will be learning the local language through lessons, speaking with your host family, and interacting with local communities. Focusing on the local language can help you make new connections with people and engage more deeply with where you are.
A few more helpful tips
- Take a break from social media – no need to compare your current situation with others and, no FOMO!
- Don’t count down the days. Live in the present moment.
- Create a playlist with your favorite upbeat/pump up music and press play when you need a pick-me-up.
- Start a journal to help you process your experience – this is also great to have for years to come. It will remind you of your adventures and how far you’ve come.
It may not feel like it at the time, but know that it’s not just you who is experiencing homesickness. It’s very easy to find yourself not being present, which can later turn into regret that you didn’t make the most of your time. Deciding to attend a longer term student travel program is a big decision, and homesickness can be part of it. If you use these tips and make an effort to stay positive, you will leave with a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Not to mention all of the lifelong memories and friendships you will have created!
(Photo by Hope Lane 2019)