We all have our comforts in many forms. From the people we surround ourselves with to the food we eat or the places we like to visit. When you are studying away from home it can be a little tricky to navigate these new comforts but it is essential for your mental (and maybe even physical) well-being.
Here are a 5 ways you can find a home away from home when you are studying in a new country:
1. Start with the easy things
Try not to over-complicate trying to find your go-to comforts in your new home. Start with the easy things such as food. We have the luxury of so much information at our fingertips that this shouldn’t be a difficult task. If you can’t find the exact cuisine you’re looking for, find the next best thing!
Make sure you have a clean and organized workspace and home. When you are adjusting to a new environment it can really slow the process down if you haven’t taken the time to organize your spaces to work for, not against you. Spend the time to organize because it will save you a lot of time and added stress. It also helps establish the new space as yours as you have a dedicated spot for all your items. This makes a home feel more like home and not a bed and breakfast.
2. Recreate what you can
Try and recreate some elements of your home in your new home/workspace. Perhaps a picture of your loved ones, or memorabilia that remind you of a close friend or family member. Maybe you had a favorite candle you used at home. Use the same one because our sense of smell can also ignite that feeling of homely comfort.
If you have a particular prayer mat you used at home, make sure to use the same one. If you like having plants in your living space, then invest in some because nurturing them and seeing them grow will give you good vibes and they look great!
3. Connect with your community
Make sure to you are connecting with other students because some will be in the same boat as you. Those who aren’t in the same boat, will be able to advise you and that will save you having to learn things the hard way.
Try and contribute to the community at large too because it will be essential in the long-run. You will meet lots of people at the local masjid or events near you, so be sure to build those relationships because ultimately they will be what will get you through your time in your new home-away-from-home!
4. Explore new comforts
Part of what gives us comfort is also our eagerness to be able to try new things. It’s the one reason people love to travel. Make sure you are taking advantage of the experiences and culture in your new home. Soon you will find yourself enjoying and returning to many of these comforts as they will become a part of your identity, even if a small part.
5. Keep in touch
Have a scheduled chat with family and friends back home if possible. Work it in to your day off but make sure it is something you plan for. Staying connected with family can help you in adjusting as you can share your concerns and experiences with those who know you best.
Finally, remember that we are all on a journey in this life. No one place will fully always feel like home, because our comforts will evolve as we grow. We will find snippets of it in many people and places so enjoy the experiences, cherish them and pay them forward.