What does home mean to you? Is it a place, country or maybe a person? How do we define ‘home’? Jemima Ung, International student at Bath Spa and SpaLife’s Commissioning Editor, has come a long way from Australia for her studies. For our Spring print issue she shared what ‘home’ means to her and how she now appreciates so much more than just a country.
It’s a new year and it’s typically at these times, the end or the beginning of something, that we have an epiphany or philosophical musing. We find some sort of wisdom that we’re aching to impart to our fellow humans; an overly motivational new perspective on life or an unachievable New Year’s resolution is usually how it goes. It makes me cringe to say it, but yes, I have one too. This year is about being humble and grateful for home – whatever home we make for ourselves and who we make it with.
Living abroad, people sometimes have a certain impression of what your life is: ‘oh how exciting!’ they coo, ‘how fabulous’ they say, ‘what a life…’ they sigh. And this is where I tell you with 100 percent certainty that yes, it’s exciting and amazing, but I was, and still am, scared sh*tless. Geographically, England is a long way away for me. I have to fly over continents and cross the equator to the place I call home: Australia; southern skies, pervasive heat and lazy drawls.
Having moved overseas, small things that barely registered with me as being exceptional suddenly became so much more profound. Home is now not just another place but cerulean skies and a scorching sun that burns my skin. A place that eclipses the watercolour grey of England. Home is the ear-piercing screeching of cockatoos that put the pretty trills of English birds to shame.
It dawned on me that my life no longer had these little, seemingly inconsequential, things in it. And no matter how eager I was to get away and explore the world, no matter how ready I convinced myself I was, homesickness punched me in the gut with a shock and misery that I wasn’t expecting when I moved to Bath.
To battle the homesickness, I made home the people in my life. They are my home away from home. Because without them, what are we left with? So often we get caught up in pursuing success (yes, I’m guilty, perhaps more so than others) that we forget that although our relationships with the people in our lives shouldn’t necessarily take priority, neither should they be shoved aside. If you make them a part of your life, if you make time, you’ll find they’ll simply be there supporting you along the way.
So, this year remember to be humble and grateful for who and what you have. For me, the luscious, green rolling hills of England will never be as comforting as the raw beauty of bushland and the sands of my sunburnt country. But I’m ever so grateful for the opportunity and experience of living abroad.
If you do it right, you can feel at home wherever you are, because people can be as much a home as your country. Make time for them. Some come, some go and hopefully some will return, but that’s part of life. So, here’s a bit of friendly advice to you all: chin up, grow a pair and do something that freaks you the hell out.
Words by Jemima Ung
If you would like to know more about studying abroad visit Bath Spa’s website or read some of our study abroad articles.