At the beginning of last July, I went back to Auckland for a week to celebrate spending two years in NZ with my previous host family and friends from high school. My ex-landlady Tracey gave me a ride home and asked me, “do you feel Auckland is more like a home to you? Because you left all you dear friends and moved to another city so bravely.” The word ‘home’ kept flashing through my mind, I couldn’t answer with a simple yes or no.
As international students, we move a lot. The notion of ‘home’ becomes more obscure over time. Home, for me, is a place that gives me a sense of safety and belonging, a place I urgently want to go back to when I get drunk at a party. Here are a few tips for those of you who are experiencing loneliness and homesickness, I hope you will find something useful in here.
A bite of home. Always complain about in-authentic food in Wellington? Why don’t you cook for yourselves? I missed my grandma’s handmade noodle soup, I asked her for her ‘secret recipe’ and now I cook it myself. Food is such a simple way to feel connected to your home because, wherever you go, the taste of home will never be changed.
Cuéntenme sus historias, amigos! This Spanish roughly translates to: “I would like to hear every detail of your stories, my friend.” At the beginning of my university life I felt very lost because of the language barrier, I put in much more effort after classes to keep up, and I felt exhausted. When I started to make friends, with people from all over the world, I felt less alone. I shared how I felt with these friends and listened their stories.
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You are beloved by this world. One of the most amazing things at Victoria University is you can get heaps of help. Student Counselling, Student Learning, VUWSA International Students’ Association (V-ISA), Student Wellbeing Awareness Team (SWAT) are all there for you. University life can be very stressful, you need to know that there are people who care about your well being and want you to be happy. I wish for you all to feel warm, comfortable, and at home here during this cold winter.