#piecesofSg - Homesickness!
Posted on 19 May 2017
Singaporean students’ survival tips! #Homesickness
In this series, we check up on students right from our sunny island and their essential items for the long haul. Every person has their own coping strategy and we delve into these choices – be it the comforting smell of tiger balm or a favourite all-weather-appropriate cardigan.
Studying abroad can be overwhelming – think responsibilities, independence and heaps of people from different cultural backgrounds! Spending months alone overseas, while navigating through a whole new environment may sound daunting. But the little pieces of home can make all the difference!
On this cold, autumn day in Melbourne, we speak with Lekhaa, who is in the midst of her communications and journalism double major degree. She always had her mind set on experiencing overseas education because she felt that the broader media landscape and flexible teaching methods overseas would facilitate her education better.
“Once in a while, I get homesick. Not that often but just recently I got pretty homesick. When you hit week nine, week ten, that is the sweet spot where you’ve been away from home for a really long time but you can’t see the end of the tunnel yet.”
She laments about the lack of local cuisine, missing the flavours of wanton mee and Hokkien noodles, as there is nothing close enough in Melbourne. We laugh about Australian soya bean milk, very different in taste when compared like the comforting sweet variation back home. While grocery expenses are affordable, imported items are subject to shipping fees and huge mark-ups. Sensible international students tend to resist the Asian grocer, but unsatisfied cravings only contribute to homesickness!
How does she cope with her homesickness? Through drawing and scribbling her inner thoughts inside her black bound journal. “Make sure to pack extra stationery if you plan to study abroad, because one dollar Pilot pens don’t quite exist overseas,” Lekhaaa says as she shows us a few pages from her journal, scribbled with thick black marker – a form catharsis after long hours of school. “Stationery such as notebooks and pens are a lot more expensive to get them in Australia. I like to journal and draw so that’s very important,” she says.
She even carries some things from home in her first aid kit. “Not to sound kiasu but also certain medicines, the doctors here aren’t really that helpful. Axe oil, just in case! Basically stuff that you can’t find here!” she laughs.