Before you jump on that plane, excitement fills you to the brim and you absolutely cannot wait to step foot on the breathtaking beaches that Australia is famous for. Although studying abroad is mostly exciting, fun, and ultimately wonderful, the first few weeks can be difficult for some students as they meet new people, get settled in, and assimilate to the new lifestyle they will have for the next few months. It is totally normal to feel a little lost, lonely, or homesick when you first arrive. Although everyone copes with homesickness and adjusting to new places differently, here are some tips for sidelining the homesickness and enjoying the land Down Under in all its glory.

1. Spend Time Outside
Australia is one of the sunniest places on earth, so walk out the door and get lost in whatever city you are studying in, or grab a towel and lay out on the closest beach. Exploring your new home or relaxing in the sun will help you forget the stresses that adjusting to a new place can cause, and the sun’s rays will instantly boost your mood. So walk along the beach, grab a bite to eat, or go for a run and enjoy the sun’s warmth.

Leaning on a tree

2. Make New Friends
The sooner you meet fellow study abroad students and other Australian students, the less lonely you’ll be. Making friends with locals is one of the best things you can do because they know all the best places to hang out, and they will know exactly where you need to go to buy groceries, see a movie, or get the best food around. You can also try to join a rugby team or a club where you can meet people who are interested in the same things as you.  That being said, don’t be afraid to make friends with your fellow study abroad students as well. You should definitely be branching out during your stay in Australia, but your fellow study abroad friends will understand how you are feeling, and just sharing your thoughts with someone who knows what you are going through can be very helpful.

New Friends

3. Ask for a Care Package
In Australia you may find that some of your favorite foods/brands just aren’t in the stores. Although you MUST try everything (especially Tim Tams!) having your favorite food from home can get you through your first few weeks of adjusting to your new lifestyle. Before you leave, write down some snacks that you love. Give this list to mom and dad and ask them to send a package with those things in it about a week after you leave. It may take two to three weeks for the package to arrive, but you should be getting it right around the time the excitement of arriving in Australia peters out, which will help ease the panic or loneliness that can settle in as you experience a lull in all the excitement.

Snacks from HOme

4. Plan a Trip
One of my favorite things to do when I was bored in my room at Uni was plan my next trip. If you are ever feeling down, turn on that computer and get started on organizing and planning your next adventure. Booking a trip will help to take your mind off of your current stresses, and it will also give you something to look forward to after you finish that big project or final.

Aimee Morrison is a student at Stonehill College and TEAN program Alum who studied abroad with James Cook University in Townsville, Australia