Even the most hardcore of us expats suffer from homesickness once in a while. From little things like missing your favourite cereal brand to bigger problems such as seeing your friends every day, it’s something you’re going to have to face. Luckily, we’ve been there before, so we know a few tips and tricks on how to minimise the problem.
1. Keep busy
Distracting yourself is one of the best methods for dealing with homesickness. Luckily for you, moving to a new country is a very hectic thing to do! From figuring out legal stuff to finding a place to live, you won’t have time to think about home. Just live your life and without even noticing, your homesickness will have passed! Try to focus on the positives of your awesome new life instead of dwelling on what you miss from back home.
2. Meet expats from your country
No matter how fluent you are in your second language, you will always feel more comfortable while talking in your mother tongue. For this reason, meeting expats from your home country and hearing familiar accents may help you feel more relaxed. At some point your new country will begin to feel like home, but until then, being able to express yourself in your native language and spend time with people who have the same culture as you is a good way to ease into things.
Think about what you loved to do at home, then find a way to do it now. Love fitness? Think about joining a gym or a sports team. This is a good opportunity to meet new people and keep healthy – instead of staying at home and wallowing in homesickness with a box of chocolate ice cream.
Another option is to take a language class or just try to learn something new. The satisfaction that comes from learning is a great way to give you a boost when you’re feeling anxious about life. And never underestimate the power of sightseeing! After you’ve worn out the tourist hotspots, hit up the smaller local museums, theatres, and concerts too. There are plenty of things to do!
4. Keep up with your hobbies
Sure, you can’t bring back your mother’s cooking or your favourite TV channel, but you can make your new life seem a little more like home by continuing with your hobbies! If you enjoyed knitting, find a wool shop. Running? Head to the park. Baking? Everyone loves free cookies! Focus on what you still can do, rather than what you’ve lost and homesickness becomes much more manageable.
Food is always a good solution for everything – they call it comfort food for a reason! Try to find the most similar ingredients to the ones you used at home and cook your national dishes. If you don’t know how to prepare something, you can always call your family and ask them for some tips. Not only will this help with homesickness, but you’ll get a delicious dinner at the end too! You can even share your creation with your new friends.
6. Live like the locals
Don’t focus too much on home. You probably think that your home country is the best – food is better, people are nicer and so on. While this is a common attitude, it’s an unhealthy one. Your new place is just different and you should enjoy it as much as you can. Try local food, go to small restaurants and talk to the people, say hi to your neighbours – locals will be happy that you are interested in their culture and in return will share their life with you. Nothing cures homesickness like feeling like you belong!
Did you do any of these things when you first moved abroad or did something else work for you? Or are you about to embark on your expat adventure and plan to use these tips? Let us know in the comments and you might just help a fellow expat out a little.