Each one of us has the place which brings back good memories, is the symbol of comfort and wellness, revokes memories related to music, objects, colors, people, and dishes. This place is called home. It is kept in our memories as an ideal one, even if it is not so perfect. Home serves as a kind of fortress to us, our freedom and deeds. The word home is a many faceted word that combines different concepts. Home is culture, religions, the place where you live, friends, relatives, neighbors, cuisine, personal objects and environment. Although some homes do not seem spacious, have a huge garden, well decorated, or luxurious, it is the place where you feel secure, free and in the state of wellness and physical well-being. It is often associated with parents, siblings, warmth and comfort. When people lose at least one of these components they feel homesick and start to understand the meaning of the word “Home”.
Home may be viewed from three different angles. First of all, as a place where you were brought up, which is related to the childhood memories, toys, favorite dishes, and traditions. Sometimes it happens that in the middle of the working day you have an unrestrained desire to go home. You close your eyes and see unforgettable masterpieces – a kitchen, cozy bed room, living room, bathroom, and soft carpet under the feet. It is related to your best memories, family, relatives, and history. Generally, these images are the houses of our grandparents or parents. In these spaces the family gathers and has a wonderful time together. This place brings back warm memories about the childhood and family holidays. Even music, flavor and separate things may make you think about this kind of home. These are the things that you may miss when you are grown up and are away from home. First of all, it is the place where you were born and with which you have magic relations. Being a space for cultivating identity and mutual affection, home is a varied and rich union of family and personal objects. Some people evaluate objects found at home (Csikszentmihalyi, Halton 52). Very often a guest cannot notice special elements of design which were developed by one of the family members, furniture or decoration, made by somebody of the relatives, pictures or valuable for heart things which are passed from generation to generation. Individuals exhibit very strong connections and relations to personal mementos. Even rooms, whether it is a kitchen or living room, is one of the mementos which bring our memories back. Home may express different aspects of our past. It is the place directly connected with our biography, as here we had physical and special representation (Brahm, Driscoll 152).
Secondly, it is the place where you live, the building, its design inside and outside, and interior. It is the place where we live, keep our properties, have a rest, receive guests, spend leisure, eat, drink, and watch TV etc. You come home after a hard day, take a bath, lie on the sofa and do anything you want, you have freedom of actions. Such a house or an apartment may have a link to your past at the same time being a door in the future.
Third, home may convey the meaning of geographical location, for example a city, town, or country. The country is usually associated with traditions, which seem significant when you leave you native country. It is the way people live, the way they speak, architecture, design of houses, national music and many other things. As an example may be taken a Middle Eastern house, with its special atmosphere; they are different from American ones by their cultural peculiarities, design, colors and unique styles.
Thus, home is a word which embraces and has very vast meaning. It reflects our values and beliefs that are usually associated with the childhood which is always deep in our memories. If anything reminds us about any aspect of beliefs or values which were followed by the family, no doubt that you will immediately think about home. In this context home is defined by neighborhood and ethnicity. Home is a place of memories, with certain design, traditions, technology which support our memories.
Close relations to home cause the feeling of homesickness. In order to find an academic opportunity aboard international students leave their homes, families, and friend. Being in a different country they grieve for the places, objects, people, buildings, social networks and culture. In spite of modern technologies which give people ability to speak to their relatives even in remoted areas, this feeling is very common for international students who constitute a special group of students all over the globe. It may affect person’s behavior and mental well-being. According to researches, students who study far away from their houses experience the feeling of homesickness more often than those who study close to their parents. Those who feel homesick have poor progress in studying, get lower scores, are more often depresses in comparison to students who are not homesick (Poyrazli, Lopez 264).
International students, especially those who do not understand the language in the proper way, who come from poor countries or countries with considerably different cultural background, have troubles adjusting to the surrounding environment. It is caused by culture shock that is one of the reasons of being homesick. The greater the differences between the host culture and the native culture, the stronger feeling of homesickness will the student experience. Culture shock causes desire for family and familiar environment. In this case the effects include sadness, loneliness, sleeping problems, headaches, anxiety, isolation, and difficulties at the university or college. Unfortunately the feeling of homesickness is long lasting and may lead to social alienation (Hendrickson, Rosen, Aune 285). The second reason is time difference which sometimes makes communication with relatives almost impossible. They start feeling lonely expect the cases when they can make friends easily. Language is considered to be the third reason of homesickness. Sometimes international students do not speak perfectly, do not understand the professor, cannot express their ideas. These factors may cause a great trouble for any international student.
Possible solution to the problem of homesickness may be social connectedness which plays an important role in the spiritual and psychological well-being of international students. Disconnectedness from their native homes, contacts, and environments is very stressful especially for the first year students. But factors of the problem chances increase in case you are very closely emotionally related to the family, sent not much time away from home, are not sure that you have chosen university that is right for you. The feeling of homesickness may be the sign in your family all members have close relations to each other, and the family is happy. International students should remember it is difficult to find the place where you feel yourself exactly the same as at home.