On Wednesday evening, Minds Matter and Residence Life co-hosted “No Place Like Home,” a panel discussion about homesickness. The panelists were Minds Matter president Ashlynn Young, RD Julie Price and RAs Esteban Arango, Tetsuo Takahara and Joo Yee Lim.
The discussion began with each panelist sharing about their experience with homesickness and how they addressed it. Hailing from Malaysia, Lim said that homesickness is something she experiences over and over again.
“Missing home doesn’t only come up during the bad times,” Lim said. “A lot of times it’s during some of my best moments here when I realize I don’t have my family to share these moments with.”
Homesickness is different for everyone. When Price attended college, she didn’t miss home. However, she “experienced homesickness for a place [she] didn’t really know,” a place that made her feel she belonged. Thus, Price spent a lot of time off campus reaching out to high schoolers, and eventually, she found a home within this community.
Price encourages students dealing with homesickness to find activities they enjoy. “Getting involved with something you enjoy allows you to meet people with similar passions and interests who will help you feel like you belong and that you matter,” Price said.
The panelists also shared about ways students can support their friends who are struggling with homesickness. Lim and Young both agreed that giving others a chance to open up about their struggle and assuring them they are not alone can be helpful.
“Share with them your experience,” Young said. “And from there you can get them to talk about their struggle.”
Takahara shared, what he thought was, the best way students can help their friends, especially international students, battle homesickness—be home for them.
“It could be asking them if they’d like to follow you home for Fall Break,” Takahara said. “Even if it’s not their own family, to find an extended family here and receive care and love from a friend’s parents really can do wonders.”