Holiday Blues: Coping When your Family is an Ocean Away
I am confident that everyone's week was relaxing; high school stress is no joke. This past week I enjoyed not having to check my calendar to see the next deadline or test. Because I have to come back to reality, I realize midterms will start creeping up soon. And for juniors, PSAT scores, those are posted this month. I suddenly feel a dark cloud come over me as my mind is racing over everything that needs to get done. As we head back to Houston from a much-relaxed break, I say to myself, "Slow down, Jaylenn," and let's not forget to be thankful for the support system around me. My family is physically there. I truly enjoyed the one-on-one time with my loved ones. In the spirit of what I am thankful for, my family is the outlet I need to decompress and get back on track. I wonder how foreign exchange students feel when their access is limited to their parents during the holiday break.
Emma Langkjær, a junior at Kinder HSPVA, is a foreign exchange student from Switzerland. I was curious about her family connection while being so far away from them.
During a conversation on the day before break, she confided in me that she is only able to go home twice a year. "Oh, I'm always homesick, sometimes I try to ignore it and see all the great things about America, but sometimes it feels good just to give in and walk the streets I grew up on by looking up Switzerland on Google Maps."
I would imagine you would have to be emotionally secure, knowing your family was a plane ride away instead of a car ride away. No matter how exciting it seems to study in a foreign land, I can't help but feel these teens have a stronger coping mechanism from being disconnected from their family. Emma has a great host family and group of friends that keep her busy while she is waiting to see her parents again. She is a kind-hearted person and a great addition to our school.
Even though she will be graduating in 2021, Emma plans to stay closer to home for college. "I am going to the University of Lucerne and hope to pursue Jewish studies." Universities in Switzerland are very affordable, as well as exceptional. I hope the next few weeks fly by to the start of Christmas break. It makes me feel better to see my friend able to go home for some much-needed rest and recuperation.
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