6 tips for handling homesickness abroad
March 11, 2015
Are you moving abroad? Whether it’s a company relocation, your dream teaching job, studying in a romantic foreign country, volunteering or just traveling for an extended period of time, going someplace new can be a thrilling experience and open you up to new cultures and ideas, but it can also be an incredible challenge. It's important not to let homesickness prevent you from getting the most out of this travel experience.
You might experience homesickness for a number of different reasons: adjusting to a new environment or culture, feeling alone away from family and friends, language challenges and a perceived lack of control over your situation. Here are a few ways that can help you acclimate more easily.
From tourist to expat:
Visit all the tourist sites and attractions as if you were on vacation to get a feel for the country’s culture, history and habits. Have an open mind to accept the newness of it all. Once you’re feeling comfortable, begin to find the places where you feel most comfortable, maybe a restaurant that you’ve learned to love, a nearby yoga studio or a daily jogging route. Find whatever is most important for you to establish a routine.
Try the local food:
Finding foods that you enjoy right away will ensure that you always know where to go and what to order. Be open to new experiences and tastes as well as enjoying your familiar favorites. If you’re in Brazil, you may find that brigadeiros are your new favorite treat!
Make a list of places to explore:
Do some research, ask locals and colleagues and make a list of a few places you’d love to explore: local cafes, unique markets and shops, venues featuring live music or local artists, museums, historical landmarks. Cross them off as you explore each one. This will give you goals and fun things to look forward to.
Establish a routine:
Schedule regular plans for your daily and weekly routines. Make it fun and engaging: Friday night dinner with friends, joining a cycling club each Sunday, yoga every Tuesday and Thursday. Studies show a routine reduces the stress of being homesick.
Learn something new:
Studies have shown that when you’re homesick, you can be absent-minded, too. Stay sharp by studying a topic or learning something new every day. Learn a new language, how to cook popular local dishes, or begin a new yoga/martial arts course or other skill building activity. Immerse yourself in the local culture by relating your new activities to your new country.
Make your new home a home:
Invest a little time and money in creating your new environment and make your home a comfortable, familiar place you enjoy each day. Meet your neighbors, create a support network of friends. Make it a point to discover a favorite café, music venue, library, park or anywhere else that makes you feel more at home; you’ll make new friends just by getting out in the community.
Find out more about your new destination by checking out Crown’s destination guides. Just select your destination to view in-depth information about your new location. You’ll learn about the people, the culture, the schools … even the best places to shop! It’s natural to feel a bit homesick, but don’t let that hold you back from fully enjoying this new adventure. You’re creating new experiences and new memories that will last you a lifetime.