Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 22, 2024

Dealing with homesickness

By MADELYN KYE | August 30, 2023



Kye explains strategies that helped her cope with homesickness while studying abroad in Paris. 

Even as a senior at Hopkins, I haven’t exactly mastered control over my own homesickness. Initially, this lack of proficiency was a product of not experiencing much homesickness early on in my time at Hopkins. More recently, during my semester abroad in Paris, I was overwhelmed by how isolated I felt. It’s likely that no one is completely in control of their homesickness, but over the years, I have found a few effective strategies to mitigate dwelling on it.

Talk on the go

I have made a habit of calling friends and family whenever I am doing basic tasks. I tend to call someone whenever I am folding laundry, walking to class, cooking or performing any other simple activity. As I recognize that I exhibit more extroverted tendencies than most others, I have found that this strategy saves me from having to specifically carve out time to keep in touch with loved ones. 

Seek nostalgia in the little things

It can be easy to feel isolated from all that you know in a new city. However, I would argue that there is always some way to connect with what you’re missing, whether that’s the simplicity of your childhood or a feature of a place you used to live. For example, since moving to Boston for a summer internship, I’ve found comfort in the similarities between the red line of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and the Paris Métro Line 6, as both lines run over rivers.

I’ve also experienced this through food. As someone from N.Y., I find a simple, inexplicable peace in eating an everything bagel (with strawberry cream cheese) and sipping an iced coffee, even if Towson Hot Bagels (THB) can’t quite compare to the bagel store in my hometown. 

Keep up with your hobbies

I noticed that I felt most isolated in Paris when I neglected my hobbies. Typically, I gravitate towards running, writing and figure skating. I find that my hobbies keep my life structured and grounded. While the same hobbies won’t work for everyone, they definitely create a necessary boundary between my academic and personal pursuits; keeping up with my hobbies ensures I take time for myself. If you don’t have a particular hobby beyond your academics, I highly recommend trying running or walking. Beyond the obvious health benefits, running or walking is a great way to explore Baltimore. In particular, I highly recommend the Stony Run Trail, a gorgeous wooded path along a creek.

Stay in touch (with how you feel)

As a Writing Seminars major, I definitely understand the appeal of writing out emotions. Nevertheless, it’s a matter of finding what works best for you. When I don’t feel capable of churning out prose, I make simple, bulleted lists. Others focus more on talking about how they feel, whether chatting with friends or a therapist. All answers here are correct, so long as you try to understand where you’re at and what you can do to make the most of your time at Hopkins!

Make a Baltimore bucket list

Get excited! There are so many things to do in Baltimore that it can be both thrilling and overwhelming. I recommend making a kind of bucket list, whether that’s as simple as flagging locations on Google Maps or as intense as an artistically designed poster. Need a starting point? Try out the 32nd Street Farmers Market, open every Saturday morning!

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