Living abroad may be a dream come true for many, but there’s no denying the fact that uprooting your life and moving to an entirely new country is not easy—far from it, in fact. Homesickness is common for many—if not all—expats. And no matter how well you have transitioned to living in a foreign place outside of your comfort zone, there will still be times when you find yourself missing home.
During these moments, it can be difficult to go about with your day without feeling too down. That said, here are some things you can do whenever you feel homesick:
Acknowledge your feelings
Feeling homesick is a completely normal emotion after moving to a new country; it doesn’t mean that you have made the wrong choice or that you are not ready to be an expat after all. With that in mind, don’t hesitate to acknowledge your feelings of homesickness. Whether you’ve been an expat for two weeks or two years, it is perfectly normal to miss the place where you grew up.
Get something that will remind you of home
Having things in your new home that remind you of your old one can help stave off feelings of homesickness—or at least make them more manageable. Try decorating your home with things that remind you of your home country, such as American flag wall art or a traditional piece of ethnic décor. At the same time, display things from your old home, such as mementos, family heirlooms, or your favorite books.
Connect with loved ones
One of the most effective ways to cure homesickness is by talking to people from home. They are, after all, probably a big part of why you’re missing home so much. And with social media and video conferencing tools, it is easy to stay in touch with loved ones no matter where you may be in the world.
Make new friends
Making new connections can help you transition to a completely foreign land more easily. Apart from that, new friends can distract you from homesickness and perhaps fill the void you feel from being so far away from home.
If you don’t know anyone in your new country, here are some tips on how you can meet new people:
- Introduce yourself to the neighbors, maybe invite them over for some tea
- Attend social events around the community, if there are any
- Go to places where you can easily socialize
- Join local groups that interest you, such as hobby groups or fan groups
Meet with other expats
If there is someone who completely understands how you feel, it’s another expat. They don’t even have to be an expat from your home country to empathize with your feelings of homesickness. So, reach out to another expat and share struggles, be it homesickness, language barriers, or cultural differences.
It is also a good idea to join expat groups online. Expat Facebook groups are great sources of information that can help you get past problems that are unique to expats, such as visa issues, language barriers, and home hunting as a foreigner. More than that, they are great places to meet people who share the same ideas, principles, and lifestyles as you do.
Embrace the new things
The process of adjusting to a totally new environment may be daunting at times, but there is no way to go around it. You can, however, make the adjustment period at least a little easier on yourself. And one of the best ways to do this is by embracing new things.
There are a lot of ways you can do this. Perhaps you can sign up for a language class to be better able to communicate with the locals. Or maybe you can travel to other cities to get to know the country on a deeper level. If you are having trouble with the cultural differences, you can also try asking a local to explain them to you in clearer detail. Whatever strategy you use, getting to know your new country better is an excellent way to make the transition easier and ease homesickness at the same time.
One of the hardest things about being an expat is getting hit with the feeling of homesickness. For some, the feeling is quite fleeting, but for others, it’s a constant emotion hanging on your heart. Either way, it is important to ease these feelings before they overwhelm you, and you can do it by following one or a few of the tips above.