Homesickness is an odd feeling, especially when abroad. The mind and heart feel torn between two great things: what you know and love and the awesome place you are.
No matter what… homesickness is normal. It’s okay to feel this way and no one should make you feel bad for it. When I first studied abroad in Sevilla, I didn’t feel homesick once, but when I taught in Madrid, I felt homesick often.
Whenever I felt slightly homesick, I made myself feel even worse. How could I be homesick? I was living in Madrid. IN EUROPE!?! I was lucky to have this opportunity and every day was new and exciting. I felt weak for feeling that way. It worsened as the holidays approached. I missed my friends and my family.
The important part about homesickness isn’t the feeling, it’s recognizing what’s going on and dealing with it. If you do nothing, nothing will change.
Here are some ways to fight homesickness abroad:
- GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!!!
- I understand Skyping and Facetiming keeps you connected, but spending too much time with technology takes away from the present. Don’t spend all your time inside Skyping. Walk around, jog to the park, or research a good coffee shop.
- Find a way to become part of the community.Use Facebook to find groups based in your city. Madrid had writing events, like La Chispa, get togethers for expats, groups for just women in Madrid, like Gone Girl International. Reach out. You’re not the only new one in the city!
- Create a support system.
- Find some people you can talk to about how you feel. Chances are they feel the same way too. Plus, these are the people who will keep you distracted from feeling sad.
- Have someone you love visit.
- It’s fun to have a piece of home to look forward to. If you can’t make it back home for the holidays, have home come to you!
- Keep your habits.
- Homesickness is a feeling of missing the familiar, so try to do more things that are familiar. Do you run? Do you like to volunteer Keeping habits from home makes the new place feel like home too.
- Create a home.
- Make your space abroad feel homey. It makes your stay feel less temporary and more permanent.
- Celebrate your culture and your adopted culture.
- Friendsgiving means so much more when you’re abroad. My European friends that didn’t know about Thanksgiving loved it! Learn about someone else’s tradition as well as sharing your own.
- Remember where you are.
- Remind yourself of what you’re doing. You’re living abroad! Make a list of where you want to go and what you want to see. It will get you excited about where you are.
What are other ways to fight homesickness? What’s the hardest part about being abroad for you?