29 Dec 2018

3 Singaporeans ways to combat homesickness while studying overseas



Studying overseas has many benefits, including a wider range of courses, independence and a richer life experience. It may feel like an exciting adventure at first, but it is common to find yourself feeling a bit homesick after a while.

Missing home is especially hard to bear during the festive season. However, many Singaporeans have experienced the same as you have and have made it through the homesickness! We spoke to three Singaporeans for their tips on bringing a bit of home to them while overseas.



Tip 1: Embrace new tech with old traditions

Studying animation in Vancouver Canada means that 27-year-old Jason Yong frequently misses the food from back home.

“Asian food is actually quite common here in Vancouver, but during Christmas, I just miss my mom’s cooking,” says Jason.

His solution? A FaceTime cooking lesson with his mother! “She will send me some of the ingredients a month before. It is usually fine as long as it is an unopened sauce or dried food item. She will also send me a shopping list and I have to figure out the English names of things like Chai Sim (it’s Mustard Greens!)”

What about the time difference? “Vancouver is 16 hours behind Singapore, so my mom will FaceTime me at about 10am Singapore time, which is about 6pm here! It’s not too bad really, you just have to plan a bit.”

The duo then will have their virtual cooking lesson, which Jason says takes about 2 hours depending on how well he understands his mother’s instructions. “But it is fun really! What I cook is not exactly the same as my mom’s, but I think the process of cooking it with her makes it taste more like home. We will then have a meal together and have a little chat, so it almost feels like she is with me.”


Tip 2: Seek out new thrills with your friends

As the airfare to fly back to Singapore is very expensive, Yijia Tan, a 23-year-old student in the US often chooses to fly home only during the Chinese New Year holidays.

“Chinese New Year is more important for my family, especially my grandparents. I have a few friends studying with me who live in different parts of Asia. They will also choose to return home during the Lunar New Year. It is an important holiday for many parts of Asia!”

When asked what she misses most about home during the holidays, Yijia says that it is surprisingly the weather.

“I know we all like to complain about how hot Singapore is, but when you live in a colder country, sometimes the sun isn’t so bad,” she remarked. “What my friends and I will do is plan a trip to Miami so we can soak in the sun and go wakeboarding. This year, we are actually thinking of paragliding too.”

The combination of being adventurous and active at the same time seems to work well for Yijia when combating homesickness. “It is hard to miss home when you are concentrating on balancing on your wakeboard!”

If you are up for some adrenaline-pumping activities just like Yijia, it would be wise to get the proper insurance cover, just in case. With MSIG’s Global Study insurance plan, you are already covered for adventurous activities such as skydiving and bungee jumping. No need for an extra insurance plan! Now all you have to do is conquer your nerves!

Tip 3: Stay healthy and positive

Jonathan Tan is a 22-year-old Singaporean currently studying in Australia, whose biggest tip for battling homesickness is simple - be healthy. “It is really important to stay healthy, because falling sick really makes you miss home a lot,” he says.

He recalls an incident where he fell severely ill and had to be admitted to the hospital for a night. “I was feeling really horrible, but I did not tell my mother that I got hospitalised. I did not want her to worry and there was nothing she could do anyway. I really missed home that night, nothing feels more lonely than being in a hospital in a foreign country.”

Ever since then, Jonathan has taken his health more seriously by eating well and exercising as much as he can. “I am not the healthiest person yet, but I think every little bit helps. I get sick less often!”

While staying healthy helps, sometimes the stress of studying and living overseas can still get onto you and cause you to fall sick just like Jonathan. You can avoid his situation of helplessness when falling sick overseas with a comprehensive insurance plan like MSIG’s Global Study.

On top of your inpatient medical expenses paid under its Premier plan, you are also covered for up to S$10,000 for a hospital visit by a relative. This way, they can be by your side when you are not feeling your best.

Just as you should take care of your health, you should also prioritise your peace of mind! Find out more about Global Study insurance here.