Homesick International Students and How They Cope

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE

by: Shannon Larcara

            Most students that attend college will feel homesick once in a while even though they may still live close to home.  Rider University accepts students from 42 states, 3 U.S. territories, and 72 countries.  If students that live only an hour away from home feel homesick how must international students from countries such as Spain, China, and Austria feel? 

            Attending college overseas is something that many students aspire to do.  Students from Rider University travel to different countries to study abroad while international students come to the United States to get the same experience.

             “I decided to come to the United States because I have been here before and I think it is an optimal place to gain international experiences,” said international student Katharina Kortschak. 

            Some international students find it harder to be away from home than others.  Katharina says that she likes to travel a lot so studying abroad is better than being home.  For other international students a different mindset applies.

            Raúl Del Cuadro Rodriguez, an international student from Spain, says, “It’s not possible not to feel homesick sometimes.”  Although being so far away from home is hard there are ways Rider University makes it easier.

           

            A recent program that Rider has started called the International Student Mentor Program allows the international students to receive mentors to help them with any problems they have while also helping them adjust to life in America.  It is also very beneficial for the mentors as they get to make new friendships, become leaders, and learn what life is like abroad.  Most of these mentors are interested in learning different languages and studying abroad one day.  With this program students have been able to make connections for life.  After students go back to their countries mentors and mentees continue to keep in touch and visit each other.  Another thing that makes life easier for international students is the great location Rider is in, which allows students to visit cities such as New York and Philadelphia.

 

             When an international student Gerhard Zirngast was asked why he wanted to attend college in the United States he responded that it is a great country to study in and there are “great trips to NYC and Philly”.  Raúl Del Cuadro Rodriguez also wanted to be near New York City and said Rider was in the best location.

            Some international students find that they are too busy with studying to be homesick.   Marina Stoeberl says she never has time to think about home but she talks to her parents and boyfriend everyday.  Some international students also have other friends that are studying abroad at the same time so they visit each other.  This helps them to feel at home and make it less difficult. 

            “There are so many nice people here to talk to and also I have to study and do not have time to think about being homesick,” says Zirngast.  Feeling homesick phases people at many different levels.  For those who often feel homesick, technology has made it easier with all the ways to communicate with people even from different countries.

            With social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, communication between people living very far away has become quite easy.  Most international students can contact their friends and family with their phones but it tends to cost them much more than it would to communicate through the Internet.  Raúl talks through Facebook and Twitter to his family daily.  “I also use Skype for a few minutes each day or at least every two days.”  Even with all the technology Raúl experiences a six hour time difference that makes it difficult to communicate.

            For most students at Rider University, the distance to their homes is not far. A large number of students live in New Jersey that attend Rider University and if they are not from New Jersey they are mainly from Pennsylvania and New York.  If students that live only an hour or two away from home feel homesick, imagine how international students that are 3,644 miles away from home feel.  It is tough to be so far away from home but for international students at Rider, they make the most of it.

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