Being in a new place that is filled with new faces, and bursting with new opportunities, a person can easily become overwhelmed and become homesick.
Exeter is most likely very different from the various places students have traveled from. With the Harkness method of teaching and a large body of different students, Exeter can be hard to adjust to. From longing for traditional home-cooked meals, missing their comfy bed, and most importantly, yearning for family and friends, it can be hard for students to adjust to the new atmosphere here at Phillips Exeter Summer School.
International students have traveled the furthest, so most people would think that they would miss their home the most. However, one student, Lucretia Hu from Shanghai, China, has not yet experienced being homesick. “I am not homesick because I can contact my family everyday- and if I want to, I can even see them face to face,” she said.
Yet at the same time, she says she does miss things from home, but not actually being home. Laughing, she declared: “The vegetables here taste like grass and I hate french fries. Also, the bed is too soft- I sleep on a wooden bed in Shanghai, so sleeping here is uncomfortable.”
Due to cultural differences, international students might have difficulty trying to adjust to life in America.
Nonetheless, even students from America may experience some form of homesickness. For example, after some discussion, one Upper School student from Washington broke down and admitted, “I miss everything from home – especially the weather!”
Yet at the same time, other students from America seem to be doing just fine – “I only miss my dog,” a young Access girl remarked. The beauty of having such a diverse group of kids here, is that everybody deals with situations differently, so no matter where a student comes from, homesickness may or may not affect them.
If a student does experience homesickness, all hope is not lost! There are many ways to combat feeling homesick. One of the best ways is to try and become apart of the community. The Hoyt dorm leader, Kate Hernandez, when asked how she would help a student who is homesick said, “I would encourage them to make connections and engage, because that will make them feel more at home.”
When people feel like they do not fit in socially, it could make them miss their home and comfort zone even more. To make the experience for every student here the best it could be, try and include people who seem left out.
Another way to help address homesickness is to consider how a student connects with his or her home. In the interview, Kate Hernandez, also said: “If a student is connecting with their family too much, it can make them feel even more lonely. But, if the student isn’t connecting with their family enough, then that can also contribute to feeling homesick.”
The key seems to be to try and find the perfect amount of connection. Some more tips to try and fight homesickness are to do some things you usually did at home and keep familiar things around (but still try and experience new things), talk to someone about how you feel, or write it down, try and keep occupied, and try to think positive thoughts.
Homesickness is a complicated personal topic in many ways that can affect different people. Try the tips listed above, and make the most of your experience here at the Phillips Exeter Summer School.