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How to Tackle Homesickness When You are Studying or Working Abroad

Posted on Jul 14, 2018
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Tips for Dealing with Homesickness Abroad

Homesickness can arise from a number of different factors — difficulty adjusting to a new environment, feeling lonely or cut off from your regular support system, confusion or problems understanding a new environment/culture/language, a perceived lack of control over what’s happening around you, culture shock, and the list goes on. FOMO while abroad is a real thing, and it can be brutal.

1. Create a Routine
Figure out what you’re going to do as a daily and weekly routine. This means not just waking up at the same time and cooking yourself a great breakfast, but also incorporating something fun or interactive

“Studying a topic or learning every day will keep your mind active.”

2. Plan a Holiday or a Festival Party With a Friend From Home
Make a festive occasion on Christmas, Diwali or Holi. Call your friends from campus to join you. Teach a few things about your culture to your new friends at school. Enthral them with goodies from home, and cultural significance.

3. Make a Bucket List for Exploring Your New Country
Do a little research about where you’re living and find a few places you absolutely have to explore –- the ten best coffee shops in the city, the favourite locations for local street artists or all the different places you can go kayaking.

4. Learn Something New
Research has shown absent mindedness is common in those with homesickness. Studying a topic or learning every day will keep your mind active. No better time than this to start learning a new language, how to cook every one of your host nation’s favourite dishes, or begin that yoga/martial arts/diving course

5. Document Your Positive Moments
Negative feelings have a tendency to snowball: you start off annoyed about a bus running late, and end up blaming an entire country and looking up the cheapest flights home. This is natural, but it can get out of control quickly if you allow it to.

6. Talk to Others About How You’re Feeling
It might seem like you’re the only person who isn’t immediately enamoured with Florence, but the truth is that you’re not the first person to feel homesick – you’re likely not even the only one in your program. You might feel a lot of pressure to be positive about the whole experience, especially if you had high expectations when you arrived, or feel the need to put on a happy face when you talk to folks back at home, but there’s no shame in being homesick.

7. Don’t Feel Guilty About Immersing Yourself in Your Home Culture
Just, don’t over-immerse. Sometimes when we’re abroad, we feel like we’re supposed to be 100 percent invested in absorbing every bit of our new culture – but that doesn’t mean you have to completely distance yourself from your own culture.

8. Always stay busy.
This one should be easy. Don’t spend hours sitting in front of your laptop looking at Facebook photos of your friends back in the States. Staying in contact with them is one thing. Constantly wishing you were back with them is another.