Homesickness Case Study

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4. The Circumstantial Factor of Homesickness 4.1 Changes in Relationships
“Moving physically away from one’s support network leads to changes in the relationships that had developed.” “All of the subjects stated that they developed relationships with others who were studying abroad, someone from either their own or another country” (p.12) Whereas developing relationships with people in the host country and having opportunities of L2 communication might “play an essential role in the development of L2 proficiency” (Goodwin & Natch, 1988, cited in Tajima, 2016, p.112), the new friendships can be cause homesickness since most new relationships that learners developed could be with people who cannot speak and understand their L1. Moreover, learners would realize the difficulty of expressing their complicated feelings in their L2 when they feel homesick, which mean they would hesitate to talk about their problems even if they have many friends who can ask for help. This situation can be connected to students’ usage of social media.

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In particular, for Japanese people, to adapt to a host culture will be one of the most difficult things since they used to live with others who have the same culture compared with multiracial society or countries which are adjacent to other different countries. Uematsu’s (2004) research showed two significant results: 1) learning a host country’s interpersonal skill helped students to build host national friendships, understand the host culture, and keep their mental and physical health, in other words, acquisition of host interpersonal skills is closely related to intercultural adaptation in various situations. 2) Those who prefer host ethnicity succeeded to acquire interpersonal skills and adapt to a host culture with the experience of reflecting on their own ethnicity by becoming one of a minority after having been a member of
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