The excitement of participating on our Language Immersion programs can start really high but some students can start to experience homesickness in the first few days. Which is completely normal for the students to experience this even if the students are well travelled. The emotions of missing family and friends can be trigged by a message from back home. The time of year can also play a factor too.
Please don't worry too much as we find it can only last a couple of days into the program. Once the students have settled into their host families and the environment their program schedules will keep them super busy!
To help ease the homesickness emotions we have put together our top 4 tips for our students:
1) Keep in touch – We live in a world now where WIFI is everywhere and easily accessible. Along with our mobile phone technology. Which makes keeping in touch with family and friends a lot easier. We encourage our students to make contact with their families as soon as they have landed at their homestay destination. Also to touch base regularly throughout the program, especially with platforms like Facetime or Skype. We believe seeing familiar faces in the first few days allows the students to feel connected back home and not so far away.
2 ) Meet host family before travelling – We aim for at least 3 weeks prior to the students departing to share their host family details. This is a great way to get to know the host brother/sister and their family before getting there. The friendship bond can start to develop and all those initial nerves can be avoided. Which will of course avoid those homesickness emotions on arrival.
3) Embrace the culture and language – The biggest reason for our Immersion programs is to better the student's language skills in preparing for the final years of School and life beyond school. As we know learning a language can open up more employment opportunities and life benefits. Make sure to read our blog all about the benefits of learning a language. It is a good idea for the students to start getting familiar with what is happening in the country they will be travelling to. Watch a local TV show (YouTube is great for this) as well as listen to the top charting songs of the city. Not only will this get the students practicing the language but it will also keep the students up to date with the current pop culture which can then be a great conversation starter with their host brother/sister.
4) Group Support – Each Language Immersion program will have a group of Australian students travelling together. They can be from the same School or different. We strongly encourage these students to form a group chat together either via What's App or similar. Before the Immersion students leave we arrange a pre - departure night to run through the program together and hand out important documents. It is a great opportunity for the students who don't each other to meet and exchange details. Having other students in the same position will certainly help tackle any homesickness emotions.
Remember all these emotions are completely normal for everybody. We are always here to help in any way we can to ensure the students get the most out of their Immersion program.
We would love to hear from any students who have experience some type of homesickness and how they tackled it. Leave a comment below.
Happy travelling 😊