By MacKenzie Gellner
A sense of longing when a person is away from home can build into affliction. This feeling has the potential to present itself in small doses, however, it can also manifest to the point where mental health can be at risk. This feeling is homesickness. For students or interns feeling homesick while attending the Florence University of Arts, there are counsellors and therapists skilled and prepared to help talk through the feeling, bettering the understandment to manage and get through it. Homesickness is quite underrated in its strength. Melissa Rossi, Florence University of the Arts counsellor, discusses how homesickness tends to be triggered by physical separation, but is also largely due to a lack of familiar references. The magnitude of the feeling though is based substantially on who the person is and what life they have led.
“Each individual is coming into this experience being abroad with their own past experiences, their own goals, their own motives for coming here and their own expectations.”
Rossi adds, “For some students it may come later in their time abroad, where for some students it may have even happened before they got on the plane.”
The best way to handle it though is through talking about it. Rossi sees keeping it inside only causes it to build and fester.
“There’s this idea that everybody is having an amazing time and you’re the only one that’s feeling homesick,” she explains.
“We also offer activities to help students to become more familiar with the city of Florence, to get involved with the Florentine community or just get involved with other students as a way of making connections, having that support group.” Being abroad delivers several incredible experiences, however, the first step is adjusting to the newness before that can happen. Homesickness can be due to the assumption that every moment must emit excitement, however, that’s not entirely realistic. Rossi notes how feeling homesick is very normal and sees it as almost an inevitable part of the experience.
“Along the way you start to realize that you’re not the only one feeling that way. That it is, in a certain sense, a common aspect of being abroad, and something, to different degrees, universal and part of the experience.”