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Homesickness of Indonesian Students in Hawaii July 30, 2010

Posted by lapsippipm in English Learning.

Homesickness of Indonesian Students in Hawaii

David  Efendi

University Hawaii At Manoa

Reading and Writing Class, Special English Program

Instructor: Robert Boom

July 28, 2010

David  Efendi

Reading and Writing Class

Intructor : Robert Boom

July 28, 2010

Homesickness in Indonesian Students

Thesis :  Most Indonesian students have several different intensity and expression of homesickness. Internet technology helps in reducing their homesickness, and therefore homesickness today is no longer major concern.

  1. Overview
    1. Definition
    2. Theories of homesickness
  2. Indonesian Student
    1. Own Culture
    2. Friendship
    3. Family
  3. The Causes and Effect of homesickness


  1. Internal factor

– Personality

– Goals

  1. External factor

– Cultural shock

– Academic system

Effects :

  1. Academic performance
  2. Healthy
  3. How to reduce the homesickness
    1. Make relationship with other student
    2. Communicate with family
    3. Write in diary/blog/book
    4. Meet with student from same countries
    5. Use an Internet connections
  4. Conclusion

Homesickness of Indonesian Students in Hawaii

Are you international student? How do you felt if no internet program with audio visual to talk and meet each other in the different place or countries? I am Indonesian student in Hawaii. I have been staying here for two months. I myself sometimes feel homesick for the first time it is also common for International student, easy to feel homesickness because of separation and loss from their own culture. Even though I have several friend from same countries I  feel homesick as well. Some times what things that should be solution doesn work well. This article will explain specific case on the homesickness of Indonesia students in Hawaii and how they dealt with. It will give same detail about the Indonesian-International student below.

According to many articles and journals, international students often get homesick when they are arriving in the new country, new environment, new collage or university that is much different from they had before. Most people experience homesickness at some time in their life and it can be overwhelming (www.bradford.ac.uk/counselling). You will definitely not be the only person feeling homesick when you arrive at University. Suddenly you are having to cope with being away from your familiar group of friends and family and adapting to a large and unfamiliar environment. The common believe that Indonesian students have several different intensity and expression of homesickness. However, Internet technology helps in reducing their homesickness, and therefore homesickness today is no longer major concern.


There are several definition about homesickness. Homesickness, in some cases is correlated with nostalgia (Routledge, Wildschut, T., Sedikides, C., Arndt,J.2006;). Homesickness is the distress or impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from the specific home environment or attachment objects (“Homesickness,” 2005). Feelings of longing are often accompanied by anxiety and depression. These symptoms may range from mild to severe. Homesickness frequently occurs when one travels and may be exacerbated by unfamiliar environments or foreign cultural contexts. Then, they are completely missing with the original thing they had such as pets, family, etc (Bail,1980,pp 7-8).

Homesickness is especially common in youth. But,“Homesickness is not unusual’ (University of Otago.(n.d.).  Young people may experience a sense of dread, helplessness, or separation anxiety on their first day of school, summer camp, or on a protracted summer vacation away from parents. Many first-year students at boarding schools or universities also experience homesickness. According to Fisher that quoted from dictionaries homesickness is include ‘pining for home’ and ‘ depressed by absence from home (Fisher,1989).  Another definition said that homesickness is a missed home environment in addition missed significant persons (Willis, Stroebe, & Hewstone, 2003) and according to Bowlby (1969) homesickness is much more correlate with the effect of separation and loss.  In short, homesickness is feeling bad in new environment and desire to go back to their home country.

These are two theories describe about the homesickness. First, interruption theory (Mandler, 1975) said that raised anxiety and preoccupation with thoughts of home (Fisher, 1989, p.xiii). And the second one is control theory proposed by Fisher (1986) predict that transition from a familiar to a new environment result in a period of loss of control. It is same with what several studies result that adapting to the new role results in period of anxiety in which self focused attention predominates (Wapner, Kaplan & Ciottone, 1981; Outley, 1988).

Three theories above will be used to picture the homesickness of Indonesian students, especially in Hawaii in the recent day. The previous theories somehow will help us to analyses this problem even there are several things changed such as internet revolution, new program with the audio-visual in internet.

Indonesian Student

Indonesian students have their own culture and value. When they are in their home country they feel close with family friends, and also have same culture with the lecture or teacher in university. Entering in the new university that quite different is something challenging. Therefore, they must face this matter and avoid the feeling want to back home. Even though, in the USA they are feeling uncomfortable with its culture, they have to fight because they have a big goal in studying in the foreign country. For the first time, Indonesian students cannot sleep well and feel homesick and they try to contact their friend or family in country. And the strong homesick happens if they didn’t find any friend from some country.

Adjusting to a new campus, roommate, expectations, courses, and routine takes a fair amount of time and patience. It is happen in Indonesian students. By nature, people or newcomer tends to resist change and struggle to hold on to familiar surroundings like the comforts of home, family, and friends. It also happen in my life and as well as my friends in Hawaii. We shared each other about this matter and we know each other well so we think we are not alone. We have many friends that have same case. Nevertheless, they will get different problems in the department because one fell alone in the department or field of study. It rise homesickness in any time.

For example, according the report in the New York Times, international students had several problems when entering the new collage such as how they had overcome difficult family or personal situation or how they achieved goals (Zezima, 2010). They felt that dealing with the new environment in campus or collage academic was not easy. Indonesian student fell homesick not only in the first time arriving but also when in their country have celebration moment like religion day, independent day, or things like that.

In addition, so many articles in internet resources told that homesickness often happen to international University students in the USA, particularly the international studentas as it was reported by same studies. International students felt so hard to life far away from their family, friend, and home country because they also faced the new reality that might be much different with their original environment in social relationship as well as in academic style. Raja, Paksa & Dundes (2002) in their studies said that more and less 30% international students in the USA frequent felling of homesickness (Kegel, 2009).

In Indonesian student case, actually is no much different with Asian student in the USA. They get problem when staying in the new Culture or environment, far from close Friends in their home country, and also separated from warm Family including father, mother, wife/husband and their beloved son or daughter.

The Causes and Effect of homesickness

I classify the causes of homesickness to be two groups. First of all, Internal factors and the second ones is external factor. Internal factors include the personality for example easy going person, sociable, like to try new things etc. External factors such as; new culture, new academic system, etc. Symptoms in homesickness may be emotional, cognitive, or physical. In extreme cases, physical health problems accompany the hallmark symptom of homesickness, which is preoccupying thoughts of home. Most people describe homesickness as a want or longing to be back home, continuously missing their parents, spouse, relatives, friends, mates, pets, and aspects of their familiar environments. People may describe their feelings as a deep sadness, depression, frustration, anger, or hopelessness. In very rare instances, suicidal thoughts may accompany feelings of missing home.

The most common things that causes the homesickness are shock culture, no friends, different language and also far from family. They are easy to feel that they are in the foreign place. The cannot express freely because of their culture. Closes and friendly friend is really needed but in the first a few weeks they got nothing. It is hard to life every day.

Several researchers already identified about the causes of homesickness. The big category are divided into Internal factor, External factor. Studies showed there are three important factors causes homesickness such as intrapersonal factors, interpersonal factors, environmental effects, and shock culture or acculturative stress (Kegel, 2009, pp. 68-71).

Homesickness, according to the numerous studies has effects to the International student in two big matters. First, Academic performance and the second is student’s healthy. This argument is supported by another studies. Homesickness, according to Kegel that had been summarized from other researcher, has several negative impact as Kegel said, Homesickness could give some negative impacts to the student academic progress (Willis et  al.,2003: Stroebe et al.,2002), and over cultural pressure can contribute to daily problems such as: eating and sleeping problems, low energy, headaches, fatigue (Ye,2005). Furthermore, numerous studies showed a relation between homesickness, cultural shock and depression (Kegel,2009)

Most students get feeling blue and anxious in the transition from school to collage or university in everywhere. The collage freshmen feel homesick because of their attachment with their home to much and the transition from homw to calloge give much contribution to homesickness (Beck, Taylor, Robbins, 2002)

How to reduce the homesickness

Some collage has consultative service for their student in coping the personal problem such as homesickness or academic trouble. Student can go there freely. Student service usually publish news letter, brochure, booklet online media etc about several topic in order to socialize how to solve the homesickness. One of the online brochure published the tip how to beat the student’s homesickness. A few things to do when student feel homesickness are get involved, go with friends, keep in touch with family, writing journal, etc(“Ten,” n.d.). The new thing to keep in touch with ones important for you is using online chats room/social network such as Skype, Yahoo Massanger, Facebook, or twitter. These program have a audio visual therefore you can talk with your family or friends even in the long distance.

Kagel (2009) in his article offer a solution for homesickness. He said, “Same treatment such as making good relationship and counseling for international students should be tried to help the student in dealing with this popular problem”. I firmly agree with his point, but we also need some new things to coping homesickness because another technology or society changed.

I observed when Indonesian students felling homesickness most of them  make relationship with other students, Using Internet connection, Communicate with family, Write in diary/blog,  Meet with student from same countries.

The new thing that really help in reducing homesickness recently is using internet connection. They are usually and be familiar with Skype, yahoo messenger, Face book, email, and twitter to contact their friends or family in home country. It is very easy and free, by opening the website, download the program and they can call their family or friends in everywhere. I also interviewed Indonesian students, they really cannot sleep well before opening internet, chatting or calling family or friend every day, every night.

Other thing, I knew some Indonesian student have a great blog in internet and also bestseller novel. They wrote about story when they are leaving, staying far from their beloved people, friend, son/daughter, etc. According that writing, so many Indonesian students fight for academic purpose and try to minimize their matter in homesickness. They are aware with their main goal.


Most Indonesian students have several different intensity and expression of homesickness. Chat rooms in internet network program is really give much help for Indonesian students in beating their homesickness, and therefore they now need not to worry too much.


Bail, M.(1980). Homesickness. Australia: The Macmillan Company of Australia.

Beck.R, Taylor.C, & Robbins.M. (2003). Missing Home: Sociotropy and Autonomy and Their Relatisonship To Psycology Distress and Homesickness In Collage Freshmen. Department of Psychology, Abiline Cristiane Unversity, USA.

Coping with Homesickness (n.d.). Retrived from http://www.bradford.ac.uk/counselling

Fisher, S.(1989). Homesickness, Cognition, and Health. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associate.

Fisher, Shirly & Hood, B.(1987). The stress of the transition to university: A longitudinal study of psychological disturbance, absent-mindedness and vulnerability to homesickness. Britis Journal of Psychology. The British Psychological Society.

Damhuri.M.(2009,Oct 18). Negeri 5 Menara dari Gontor ke Trafalgar Square. Review of the book Negeri 5 Menara, by A.Fuadi. Retrived from http://www.bukukita.com/Non-Fiksi-Lainnya/Kisah-Nyata/72506-Negeri-5-Menara-:-Sebuah-Novel-yang-Terinspirasi-Kisah-Nyata.html.

Homesickness. (2008, Sept 25). In Reference.com. Retrieved July 29,2010 from http://www.reference.com/browse/homesickness

Kegel,K.(2009). Homesickness in International college students. In G.R.Walz,J.C.Bleuer,& R.K.Yep (eds),Compelling counseling interventions: VISTAS 2009 (p.67-76). Alexandria,VA: American Counseling Association.

Routledge, C., Wildschut, T., Sedikides, C., Arndt,J.(2006). Nostalgia: Content, Triggers, Functions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The American Psychological Association, Vol. 91, No. 5, 975–993

Steiner.J.(Ed).(2009).U.S.Classroom Culture. Washington.D.S: Associtaion of International Educators-NAFSA.

Ten helpful hints to beat college student homesickness. (n.d.). Retrivied July 20, 2010 from http://www.essortment.com/all/collegestudent_phu.htm

University of Otago.(n.d.). Homesickness, Settling Into tertiary life [brochure]. New Zealand

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia(2001-2006) Wikipedia contributors ( Disclaimer) Homesickness. Retrieved From http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Homesickness

Rakhma.E. (2009, Mart 12). “Mozaik kehidupan seperti apa yang kau jalani sekarang,saat aku tak di sisimu, sayang?”. Review of the book Long Distance Love,by Zahra.I. Retrivied from http://news.id.msn.com/local/okezone/article.aspx?cp-documentid=3158024

Zezima,K. (2010). Women’s Collage Shift To Woo Less Well-Off. The New York Times (May 30,2010). P.13



1. fitfun2011 - March 5, 2011

wOW it seem so fun studying writing subject@ Hawaii

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