8 Tips for Avoiding Homesickness When Living Abroad
Written exclusively for Expat Network by Kevin Gardner
1. Bring Some of Your Favourite Things
It is not practical to bring everything you own with you when you are moving overseas; however, choosing to bring a few items that remind you of home can help ease homesickness. For instance, if a favourite activity, such as baseball, reminds you of home, you might bring your Nokona baseball gloves as a reminder of home or so you can have your gear ready when you find a new place to play.
2. Explore Your New Home
The more comfortable you get with your new home, the less likely you are to miss your old one. Get out and see the sights. Look up local attractions and be a tourist in your own city. This will help you get to know your new home, find new interests and meet new people. Make a list of all the places you want to visit and things you want to do before you leave the country.
3. Eat Like a Local
It can be easy to fall into the trap of sticking to foods you are familiar with; however, your transition to your new home will be easier if you force yourself to try new things. It is OK to still have your favourite comfort foods from time to time but make an effort to explore the local cuisine and eventually you are bound to find new favourites.
4. Make Your House a Home
Even if you are planning on your overseas move being a temporary one, it is important to make your new home an inviting and comfortable place. If you have to come home to bare walls and an air mattress every day, you are going to keep missing the comforts of home. Decorate your place. Buy comfy furniture. You want your new home to feel personal and welcoming, rather than like an extended stay hotel room.
5. Indulge in a Taste of Home
While it is important to get out and try the local food and immerse yourself in the local culture, it is OK to seek out restaurants, bars and other attractions that cater to overseas visitors from time to time. You might even meet some new friends who can share some tips and tricks about how they adjusted to living abroad.
6. Take Pictures
If you feel awkward exploring a new place by yourself, consider taking a camera with you. Photographing your new surroundings can keep your mind occupied, help keep you from feeling lonely and help you avoid spotlight syndrome. As a bonus, you can share your photos with your friends and family back home.
7. Stay Connected
Smartphones and the internet have made it easier than ever to stay connected with friends and family over long distances. Video chat with your parents. Text your friends. Utilize social media. Keep your eyes peeled for fun postcards or gifts to send to your loved ones back home. However, avoid getting too carried away. It is good to stay in touch, but you do not want to spend all your free time chatting with friends and family back home and avoid meeting new people.
8. Invite Some Friends
Call up some friends and invite them to come visit you for a week or two. This will both help ease your homesickness and motivate you to get out and find the interesting places to visit and things to do in your new home so that you can show them off to your friends when they arrive.
Whether you are living abroad because of work obligations or because it is something you have always wanted to do, it can be both a reward and a challenge. These eight tips will help you avoid homesickness and enjoy your home away from home.