No matter whether you are abroad for teaching, studying, interning, volunteering, or on vacation – whether for two years or six weeks: Homesickness can affect you (almost) always and everywhere. It is described as an acute form of anxiety or emotional distress that results from feeling detached from familiar people and places – or simply being forced out of our usual routine. No one who plans to go abroad is safe from this feeling. But there are a few strategies and tricks that can help you cope with this dilemma.
Keep Up Your Habits
If you’re confronted with a new language, culture, and even food, it might help if you have a few familiar routines in your everyday life that serve as a sort of “anchor.” Maybe you have a sequence of things that you do every day before going to sleep or a specific order in which you dress in the morning?
Create New Routines
If you’re unable to stick to your usual routines and habits, well, then create new ones! What is it that you could turn into a new daily or weekly routine? We’re not talking about things like waking up at the same time and cooking yourself a great breakfast. Your new habit should be fun and interactive. Maybe going to a nearby market every Saturday for your groceries? Or meeting up with your new friends for a weekly movie marathon? Planning some activities – and then sticking to them – gives you something to look forward to and turns your new home into your home.
Socialize And Make New Friends
This. We couldn’t highlight this even more. The more people you know, the easier it is to distract yourself and have something to do. And it is also essential to have someone to talk to about how you feel. Meeting up with other people is usually more manageable if you are still at school or traveling in a group. Getting into a room where you don’t know a single soul can be scary, but you also never know what kind of friendships you make when you leave your comfort zone. You might even meet someone who is also away from home and has to cope with the same things as you do.
Take Some Personal Things With You
Before you start your “Adventure Abroad,” carefully think about what to pack and not to pack. Your space is probably strictly limited, but consider taking some things from home that may not seem so important at first glance: your slippers from home, a picture that usually hangs in your room, your favorite cup, your towel, etc. Little things that remind you of your everyday life can help against homesickness because it also makes you feel at home in a new place.
Create a Bucket List
Before heading off to your destination, you should do some research: what is there to see and to explore? Create a bucket list with all the things, places, and challenges that you want to see and do. With that in mind, it is much easier to focus on the great things, and at the same time, keeps your mind busy.
Celebrate Homesickness Day
Yeah, we know that this might sound weird. But think of it: What if you celebrated a “homesickness day” and got rid of all bad feelings at once? Try eating food or cook dishes from home, listen to music from your home country, call your friends, etc. Sometimes there’s nothing like a good cry to make you feel better. And then, after 24 hours, stop it and go on a sightseeing tour with the group of people you met last week. There are so many great things for you to see out there!