Wetenschap - 23 november 1995

Home-sickness plays a trick on MSc students

Home-sickness plays a trick on MSc students

The thrill of the new adventure of coming to Wageningen is beginning to ebb, the weather is getting colder and the first examinations are not far off. Maybe you are not feeling too well, a bit lonely and missing home? It is perhaps cold comfort, but it might afford you some consolation that you are definitely not the only one.

According to Dean Jeanine Hermans homesickness is a problem that crops up every year around this time. On average one or two students suffer badly from the problem, although it is an issue that comes up frequently during her consulting hours. She explains that missing home is normal, but that feeling homesick indicates that something else is wrong. She continues, The heavy workload for foreign students is real. Cultural differences and language problems can lead to a mismatch between the expectations and attitude of students and teachers. On the brink of taking their first exams, students can feel uncertain about their own capacities and compensate for this by working even harder." According to Hermans this can lead to social isolation. Students must break out of this negative circle and the longer they wait the more difficult this becomes. Hermans stresses, Students have to realize that they are not alone in facing these problems. It is important to discuss them with
fellow students or compatriots to learn how they are handling the situation."

During the introduction period Deirdre Atkinson explained that after arriving in Wageningen - the honeymoon period - you would enter the yo-yo phase. This is the time when you are really are adjusting, or trying to adjust, and when your ups and downs will take larger swings than usual. Students are advised not to hesitate in speaking up about matters and to take time to pamper themselves.