You’re the independent woman who decided to leave her country one day. You wanted to have a better future and have a new life with new friends, new adventures, etc.
But you’d never thought of homesickness and how to deal with homesickness abroad!
You love your life and you don’t regret the decision you made that day. However, there are moments in which you feel down and ask yourself if you were selfish to leave your friends and family and if living abroad is your thing.
And there are times in which you miss HOME.
I’m that girl too and I sometimes miss home (family, pets, food). Believe me, there are so many things I wish I knew before moving abroad.
I especially struggle during wintertime because it’s darker and there’s a tendency to feel more nostalgic. Is it the shorter days? Is it the weather?
Whatever the reason is, there are things that can make you feel better.
I’m a Spanish expat who has been living in the UK for over five years, so here are my top tips to get over homesickness.
Expat Advice and Tips for Homesickness
How To Deal With Homesickness Abroad
Travel to your hometown as much as you can
This can be easier or more difficult depending on the distance from where you currently live in your hometown, prices and your job.
Let’s say, you live about a 1 to 5 hours flight and you have 28 days’ holidays.
I know how tricky is to decide between travelling to somewhere you’ve never been before and going back home.
You want to visit a new city but you miss your family too… The best thing to do is PRIORITIZE!
For example, I sometimes love the idea of spending New Years’ in NYC or any other big city but I know how important is for my family to be there and at the same time, New Year without them wouldn’t be the same.
Therefore, I plan my NYC trip for another period of time.
If you can’t travel home during Christmas because of work, surround yourself with good company (friends, boyfriend…), make sure you follow your favourite country traditions to remember the good times, and spend some time cooking special.
I’m not saying you won’t miss home but you’ll avoid falling into the trap of feeling homesick.
Be the busy bee
You may wonder why I’m telling you this. Well, when I was at university doing my master’s, I only had lessons two days a week.
That was nothing (but I had many things to read, assignments, etc.) However, when I didn’t have anything to do or I was freer, especially at the beginning of the course, I used to be more nostalgic.
If you keep your mind busy, I’m sure you won’t think about home that much.
Join the gym, yoga, painting lessons…whatever you like but keeps you busy.
You’ll feel happier and more positive as well as you’ll avoid homesickness.
Have friends from your country
Having someone from your own country can have a good impact on you.
Someone that will fully understand how you feel about being homesick, missing certain food or tradition.
Don’t get me wrong, expats from other countries will have similar feelings to you but it’s likely they’re not familiar with everything about you and your country.
Having friends from Spain helped me to feel that I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t the only one missing home when I should enjoy my experience in the UK.
Think about the advantages of the country you currently live
You moved because you saw opportunities you didn’t have in your own country.
Every country has its ups and downs and they’re all different. However, when you’re feeling nostalgic about home, remember the reasons why you moved, why you’re where you are and appreciate the opportunities you’ve had since you moved.
It may be improving a language, getting that job you love, living in a big city… whatever the reason is.
I love the Spanish weather, food, landscapes, etc. What could I say about my country?
Well besides the great things I could talk about, there are other big aspects that make me feel better about moving abroad.
For example, employment isn’t great, healthcare is free but a disaster (you need to wait months and months for an operation or get treatment), and politics is another topic.
Focus on the positive
Look at the positives of being where you are! Imagine you’d have remained in your country dreaming about how living abroad was.
You’d probably be in a worse situation than now thinking what would have happened if I had moved abroad.
Would I have found my dream job?
Would I have found my other half?
And many more questions…
So be positive and grateful!
I couldn’t imagine how different my life would have been if I had never moved abroad. I wouldn’t know as much as I know about British culture and language.
I wouldn’t have visited so many beautiful places in the UK. But most importantly, I wouldn’t have met my other half and amazing friends.
📌 Related blog post: 18 Benefits of living abroad
Stay in touch with your friends
When you move abroad, there are too many things going on and as you get into a routine (work, study, volunteer, evening activities, doing the shopping, etc.), you forget to keep in touch with your friends.
We always make an excuse (even if we’re really busy).
You do it because you normally feel too overwhelmed with keeping everything on track. I do sometimes make excuses! I’m sorry for my friends if they’re reading this.
How long is it going to take you to send a simple WhatsApp message to your bestie?
Communicate with your friends, even if they’re miles away! Good friends stay friends no matter the distance.
Make your new country like home to avoid homesickness
You have to adapt to the place. The quicker you do it, the less you’ll miss home.
There are plenty of ways you can make your new country like home! For example:
- Be open to trying and cooking local meals
- Make friends
- Celebrate their events and traditions
- Get involved in the community
- Watch popular series others talk around
- Listen to their radio
- Read about the place
Travel and discover your new country
Living abroad gives you the opportunity to travel and discover your new country.
Most times you don’t know when you’ll go back to your home country so make the most of travelling in this country now.
Check museums, art galleries, main monuments, parks, hidden gems and nice cafes or restaurants. You don’t need to travel far!
When you have more time (I.e. weekends), find out about other towns around you, get a train ticket and enjoy a day trip.
Exercising has a massive positive impact on your mental and physical health. You’ve probably heard of this before.
You don’t need to go to the gym 7 days a week or even go to the gym!
I’m not a gym person and I joined a gym and didn’t go for weeks… However, Zumba lessons worked for me very well.
I was motivated to go to the lessons because I enjoyed them. So find something that works for you.
If you really don’t have time to go to a gym or lessons, you can always work out for 30 minutes at home or run.
On the weekends, I love walking and hiking (weather permitted) because I disconnect from everything.
Get into walking and you’ll see how it clears your mind and make you enjoy the little things.
Decorate your new place
You’re renting a room or maybe a whole apartment but you don’t know how long you’ll stay there so you don’t make an effort to decorate it.
Decorating makes a difference and you don’t need to spend lots and lots of money on it! (Save your pounds or euros for a travel adventure.)
Simple things like having a board to put pictures of you and your family and friends, some small plants and books.
All these small things will make you a bit happier and settled in your new city.
Remember you aren’t alone and talk when you need it. Homesickness is real and no one tells you how to deal with homesickness whilst backpacking or living abroad!
I wish someone would have told me this when I moved. But you will still discover new ways and things that will make you feel better.
If you have any questions or want any advice on expat life, reach me on my email at email@example.com or on Instagram. I’m always happy to help others with their expat journey.
Enjoy your time abroad!
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