Our IRIS YES students are a pretty exceptional group of young people. They’ve flown thousands of miles from their home countries to jump right into Iowa life. Already our students have joined sports teams, participated in student councils, and volunteered for their new communities. However, the busy schedules, new people, and fresh experiences don’t exempt students from feeling homesick.

We asked last year’s class of IRIS YES students to give us the low-down on how they overcame homesickness. Many of last year’s students missed home, but they made it clear that the feeling will pass and advised this year’s students to make the most of their time here.

IRIS YES Class of 2014-15: We know you’re going to have an amazing time here.

But if you need some extra motivation to beat the blues, refer to this great bank of advice.

Israa (Tunisia) I have always convinced myself of the fact that this year is only temporary! In a matter of few months you will regret everything you didn’t do instead of the things you have done. You are not human if you didn’t miss your parents but you have to bare in my mind that this is a once in a lifetime experience – don’t waste it on being home sick! Go out there and make memories! My advice is STAY INVOLVED, it really helps! I ENVY each and every ONE of you! Make your experience WORTH IT! Enjoy every second

Abdalla (Egypt) Stay Busy!

Jaya (Indonesia) I just want to say enjoy it, homesick is normal. To make yourself less homesick talk to your host parents, they need to know it. And you need to be open. Or talk to us personally! We will be more than glad to help you guys out! Yes stay busy, and please enjoy your year, cause we as fresh alumni already miss it so much!

Aleyna (Turkey) I wish we could be there again! Even though being homesick feels really bad, I think it is something that every exchange student experiences at some point. I agree that keeping busy is one of the best things to do. In addition to that, you should realize you are going to live and study in your host community for almost a year so I don’t think it is possible-or logical to even try to catch up with everything that is happening in your home country. You will have plenty of time to catch up once you go back, so make sure to make the best of each day and collect so many memories to share when you go back.

Rahaf (West Bank) I’d say that not talking to your family and staying involved are the best things to do. This year will end without u feeling it, thats what happened with me. It was the best year of my life so far, enjoy every second of it!

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