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Journals from England Fall, (University of Nottingham)

2009-10-31 Homesickness

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Katie is attacked by Harry the vampire before a Halloween Party in our hall.

Saturday 31 Oct. 2009 Nottingham, England 16:35 Today is Halloween, a holiday I always thought of as being something distinctly American. But, as I've often found during my stay in England, what I'd often perceived as something American is easily found here too. As I walked down the pedestrian-only streets in the nearby town of Beeston today, I found myself lost in a beautiful scene as quaint as any I could've imagined: the residents of the town enjoying their Saturday, running from shop to shop buying last-minute Halloween preparations, with a few Draculas and ghosts strolling through the town casually, pumpkins in all the shop fronts and heaps of yellow-orange leaves covering the sidewalks. During this walk back from the supermarket, I thought about home: What costume would my little sister be wearing? What are my friends at Linfield planning for tonight's festivities? What do the trees in Bush Park in my hometown of Salem look like right now? It got me thinking about something I had been avoiding like the plague " homesickness. At Linfield, I'd always considered myself to be pretty independent and often removed from the daily goings on of my family and high school friends. I'd talk to my mom once a week usually, and only go home once every six weeks or so. When you're an entire continent and an ocean away from home, it's hard not to feel incredibly detached from life as you once knew it. I often find myself saying I wonder what everyone at home is doing at this very minute and that's probably when I feel the farthest away. Sure, I miss home and all its comforts (Muchas Gracias, Nintendo 64, my friends and family), but I wouldn't say I am homesick. I am having the time of my life here, meeting so many new people, and keeping busy by traveling to different cities on the weekends. I am balancing academic life with social life, sometimes putting a little too much emphasis on the latter. That being said, I am always caught up with my reading and I feel prepared when I go to lectures. In short, when there's so much to see and do, so many new things to experience, when you're as busy as I have been the last few weeks it's hard to find time to miss home. I think that's the key: stay busy, go out, make friends, try new things (like haggis or anchovies, both of which I tried in the last two weeks). Even though I am thousands of miles away from the comforts of home and Linfield, everyone is just a quick mobile phone call, e-mail, Facebook message, or Skype call away. I can call home at 10 pence a minute (roughly 16 cents), which is pretty reasonable and is nice when I want to hear my mom's voice or surprise one of my friends with a quick hello. I am a little torn in my emotions right now. Even though I am staying here till the end of January, the weeks are flying by and I feel like that flight home is coming too soon; on the other hand, I can't wait to get back to life as I've known it in Salem and McMinnville... it will be so comforting to not stick out like a sore thumb with my accent. I guess my advice to anyone who is planning on doing a semester abroad is this: The more time you spend missing home, the farther away home will seem. It's good to stay in touch with periodic phone calls and somewhat frequent e-mails, but be wary of spending too much time talking to those you love. For me, this trip has given me a great deal of confidence in my ability to be independent and take care of myself. I am loving making new friends and seeing new places, and though I love the comforts of home, I am in no way ready to go home just yet. But I think getting back to Linfield in January will be very nice, and it will help give me a lot of perspective on the magnitude of these months I've spend in England. - Jordan Jacobo

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