Deciding to move abroad can be difficult, both physically and emotionally. Whether you’re doing it for work, education, an internship, or travel, there’s a lot that you will have to face. The experience can certainly be exciting, energizing, and eye-opening but also overwhelming. After all, it involves leaving your whole family behind along with the life you knew. One of the most common challenges people face, particularly those living abroad for the first time, is homesickness. Even though many people experience it, it’s important not to let it stop you from appreciating this new adventure.
So, what exactly is homesickness?
Homesickness is a state of anxiety and longing for someone’s home during an absence from it. Individuals experiencing it often feel detached from others and their new setting since they’re forced out of their comfort zones.
Homesickness can cause several other issues too. For example, you may find it difficult to adapt to the new place you’re living in. You might also experience severe loneliness and struggle with understanding the new culture, language, and other aspects of your new life.
Homesickness can manifest itself in many ways. Some of them include:
• the need to contact friends or family all the time
• the feeling that nothing in the new place is “normal”
• the refusal to socialize with others
Unfortunately, homesickness won’t go away quickly.
It takes a lot of effort to deal with it. You may even feel as if there’s nothing you can do to feel better and get over this horrible feeling. Luckily, it’s possible to overcome homesickness and see your new situation in a new and more positive light. Coping with homesickness abroad is never easy — there’s no doubt about it. Plus, not all methods work for everyone.
I’m currently experiencing homesickness myself. So, many questions plague me. Will the connection with my friends and family remain strong? Once I go back, will I be able to adjust to my home country and hometown again?
To combat these questions and struggles, many people suggest making friends quickly. While this advice is generally good, it can be hard for someone dealing with social anxiety and those struggling with getting out of their comfort zone.
Still, making new friends is the most helpful method to battle homesickness and isolation. It’s also a great opportunity to learn about different cultures, find new things you may like, and expose yourself to various exciting experiences. Plus, most residents and locals will be more than happy to show you the ropes.
But making new friends isn’t the only way to combat homesickness. Here are five more ways you can get out of this overwhelming feeling of isolation.
1. Talk to others about your feelings.
While many people’s initial instinct is to close themselves off from others, discussing your feelings is actually beneficial. So, try to confide in friends regarding any emotions you may be dealing with – odds are they’re going through something similar and might offer you some advice.
2. Focus on self-care.
Once you move abroad, many things change, but not all have to. Staying on top of your self-care habits can help you cope with your new situation. If what normally helps you is partying, staying in, reading, or listening to music, be sure to continue to do so once abroad. That way, you’ll be able to retain some sort of sense of normalcy.
3. Create a routine.
Whether it’s exercise, going for a walk, or something completely different, creating a routine can be helpful when dealing with homesickness. So, try waking up at the same time every day, visiting a nearby store, meeting your buddies, or even going to concerts.
4. Discover something new.
Studying a topic or learning a new skill every day will keep your mind in tip-top shape. For example, try yoga, martial arts, journaling, blogging, or learning a new language.
5. Make time for your old hobbies.
I’m sure you have things you loved doing back in your home country. When abroad, be sure to continue doing them. Almost everything you used to do back home can be done in a new place. A simple Google search will help you find places and groups that can help you stick with your old hobbies and interests.
Feeling homesick is never pleasant. But remember that this feeling passes. And once you go back home, you might be homesick for your study abroad location. Until then, let’s hope some of these suggestions and tips will help you find some peace and comfort in your new home. Remember that you’ll return home eventually and bring lots of memories back with you.