Friday, December 15, 2017

Unpacking the Bags: How to cope with being away from family

October 18, 2017 by Renata Silva, contributing writer

After spending a long time away from home, we begin to reflect on the real consequences of the decision to move to another country. When we, international students, arrive at our destination, it’s all joy, novelty, and satisfaction to be living a dream. We need some time and some special days for us to really start missing friends and family.

Who in this situation has never stopped to wonder if they’ve made the right choice? For international students, who leave everything behind, this question comes loaded with emotions, frustrations, and even a few tears. But the important thing is to not be let down. The relationship with your family is not over; you just need to be more creative and devote more time to it.

Unpacking the Bags is a column giving advice for international students appearing in every issue of Nexus.

The tip is to not let physical distance become a psychological distance. For me, the internet is always my biggest ally. Keeping in touch with those who stayed home is easy. The difficult part is dealing with time zones, but with effort it’s possible to be part of the day-to-day lives of your family back home. Do not underestimate the importance of a simple message or ten minutes of video connection.

For the days of solitude, the important thing is to keep busy. Try to be close to your friends, read a book, or get involved in school and work. Another tip is to not make comparisons between living in Canada and living in your home country. Always focus on the good side of both places and how each one is part of you.

I’m not saying to completely ignore the sadness; you just can’t let loneliness consume you. There are times when we need to cry, and we must respect those moments. They are important because they put us in touch with what’s really deep in the heart and make us learn how to deal with this kind of emotion without letting it keep us down.

The most important thing to remember is that your friends and family are part of who you are. And that, nobody can change. Your character, your values, ​​and your memories will always be present. Therefore, being a good, ethical, and happy person is the greatest thing that we can do to honour our family and have them feel closer to us.

And feeling closer does not have to depend on distance.

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