You planned your life abroad so eagerly and with so much dedication and were so enthusiastic and excited about your first few months in your new country, with a new home, a new bed, new walls, new views from the window and new neighbors that now missing your mom, your pillow, your coffee mug or that old pair of shoes seems weird and discomforting to say the least. Is there something wrong with you? Did you just rush up on your decision to move abroad and now are paying the consequences? Or are you just still too much tied to your mother’s apron strings and you can’t say goodbye yet?
The answer to these questions is quite simple: you’re feeling homesick. Yes, you’re experimenting homesickness and it’s quite normal for you to feel it, especially now that all the excitement around the “everything-new-life” is fading away and you find yourself trying to build a routine in a new place where not everything is familiar for you yet.
Should you pack your things and run back home and hug your pillow and old pair of shoes? No! Wait! In this article you’ll find interesting tips help you manage homesickness more effectively and embrace your new home in a more positive way.
Let Others Know About How You’re Feeling
Whether you have a room-mate, a best buddy at college or some fellow expats around or just a local open ear and warm shoulder, let them know about how you’re feeling. You’re not the first person feeling homesick or wanting to take the next plane back home. Ignoring it will only make you feel worse and more depressed. Allowing you to share your true feelings, acknowledging that your new life is not as easy or exciting as planned will make it easier for others to understand you, lend you a hand, support you and even tell you their own experiences with homesickness.
Get To Know Your Surroundings
If you haven’t done already, visit the most popular sites in your new city: yes, each and everyone that any tourist can’t miss. Take pictures of them, grab brochures, learn about them and enjoy the experience. This will help you understand the history and culture of the new country and it will make it easier for you to feel at home.
The next step is to act as a local and just go around your neighborhood and explore the shops and attractions nearby. Is there a great park for jogging? Have you found a small restaurant that seem to have delicious meals? Is there a market a few blocks away that sells great fresh products? Have you found a bookshop that can get you those books you love and can’t find anywhere else? The idea is to get that sense of being in your neighborhood, to discover all the small details that make your new neighborhood exciting and a great place to live in.
Turn Your House Into A Home
There’s no play on words intended here. Now that you’ve solved the main issues regarding your new home: you’ve found a place to live, have a bed, a table, a cupboard and a wardrobe and some drawers where to organize and keep your things, it is important that you turn your new house into a real home. You’ll be living there at least for the next couple of months so if it looks like a hotel room and there’s nothing personal or that speaks of you there, you won’t stop feeling homesick.
Whether you decide to add a flower bouquet to the table or buy a new mirror or just display your pictures from home as you did in your old house, just spend time making your new house have that homey feeling that you so much miss.
Stay Connected With Your Family and Friends
Thanks to Skype, Smartphones, Facebook and Instagram, staying connected with those you love has never been easier. Schedule regular video calls on Skype, be part of whatsapp groups, stay updated on Facebook… be part of their lives even from the distance and let them be part of yours.
However, if you feel that being too much connected is only working for your homesickness and not allowing you to build relationships locally it may be a wise idea to cut a bit on Skype and only schedule weekly video calls so that you still interact with friends and family but are still eager to hang around with your friends in town.
Create a Routine
Having a regular schedule can help you fight against homesickness. It doesn’t only mean waking up and going to bed at regular times each day but also having a clear idea of what you’re going to do each day or each week: from planning a regular fitness activity you love to attending some kind of class, to doing your grocery shopping will allow you to feel more under control and thus reduce the stress related to homesickness.
Be A Friend’s Tour Guide
Not many things can help you overcome homesickness than showing around your new city or country to a friend from home. Whether they’re coming over for a week-end or a month, be your friend’s devoted tour guide and show her around all the places that make of your new city or country such a great place to live in. You’ll have the advantage of being both a local and a foreigner at the same time so you’ll be able to choose a dedicated list of places they can’t miss enjoying.
In addition, you’ll have the chance to spend lots of time with a friend from home you haven’t seen for a long time and you might be able to discover some great places together!
Try Local Food
For many of us, feeling at home means eating those meals that make us feel warm inside both physically and emotionally. When you’re feeling homesick, it can be really helpful if you try some local food that you have always wanted to try when planning your move abroad. From Mexican quesadillas to a Spanish paella to a French coq au vin to a Hungarian goulash or a German sausage, warm up your spirit with some delicious local dish. Discovering some tasty meal that makes you feel better can help you feel at home while living abroad and your mom’s roasted chicken cannot be found round the corner.
Learning how to prepare your favorite meal from home using local ingredients can be a great challenge that can keep you entertained while you’re fighting homesickness. Besides, it will assure you long hours at the supermarket and local groceries looking for the ingredients you need and it will help you get creative as you may need to replace some ingredient with a local version.
Make A List Of Worth Visiting Places in Your New City!
Do some research about the place you’re living and find places you definitely need to explore. From the best coffee shops to the most exciting natural views, the best places to go hiking, the top Italian restaurants or the most interesting museums… you mention! Challenge yourself to do/see them all!!! It will give you something fun to do and keep you focused on your next adventure and your head will move away from thinking about how much you miss your pillow!
It may seem weird but one of the main reasons why you feel homesick is basically that you are far from the people you love (family, friends, colleagues…even pets!) Thus, it just makes sense to have a close local friend invite you over to dinner at her parents’ house or to be part of a family celebration. This warm gesture will allow you to feel member of her family too and find some comfort. In other words, it will help you to start building your support network.
If you love children and do well with them, you can join up an Au Pair program. Looking after local children and sharing with them their everyday life as a member of his or her family can allow you to have a family yourself. Many participants of the Au Pair program are highly appreciated by the hosting families and develop a strong bond with them. Besides, many a time they also take their au pair on holidays so you can end up visiting more cities and countries than what you initially expected!
Feeling homesick is not rare at all. Hopefully, these tips help you cope with this uncomfortable feeling and overcome your homesickness. Let us know if you have tried any of them and which one or ones have worked better for you!0