Homesickness and culture shock often go hand in hand and are often symptomatic of each other. Most people will miss family and friends at some point. However, homesickness can be related to other things such as normal everyday activities. It is certainly not a pleasant feeling to live with and can have serious effects on your experience of teaching abroad. Some suggestions are:

  • Don’t be ashamed to miss home: Everybody misses home- whether they want to admit it or not. No matter how old you are or how close to your family and friends you were before you moved away, you will miss them. This is natural and nothing to worry about. Admit your feelings to others and hopefully you will get some support.
  • Keep in touch with loved ones: In this day and age it’s incredibly easy to keep in touch with people from anywhere in the world. Drop people emails, give them a call on Skype or even write letters/send post cards. This will make the geographical gap feel much smaller than it is and will give you some satisfaction despite not talking to them in person.
  • Put up some normality in your home: You don’t need to cover your walls in the Union Jack, Star-Spangled Banner or whatever your native country’s flag is- to feel a sense of home away from home. Get some pictures out, make your bedroom cosy with a nice T.V to watch western movies etc. Anything that visually gives you a homely feeling works well. Additionally, listen to your favourite music and watch your favourite movies or T.V shows.
  • Try not to worry too much: Anxiety is often a cause of homesickness. When we get scared and worried we revert back to thoughts of where or who makes us feel safe. Try to take on challenges in life with a positive mindset.
  • Keep yourself busy: Don’t sit in your bedroom feeling upset, find things to do, go out and do something enjoyable. Take your mind off missing people by not having time to let negative thoughts swirl around your mind. Don’t be isolated from others for prolonged periods of time.
  • Make new friends: Not being able to see your old friends doesn’t mean you should forget about them and replace them. Making new friends will allow you to do some of the activities you miss doing back home, give you support when you feel homesick and will fill a gap in your life.
  • Take a trip home: It’s not sensible to expect to be able to jet off back home every few months, but these days the world is a small and accessible place. If your homesickness is prolonged and intense, look into taking a trip back home. Even if you are planning it for months down the line, you will feel closer to people just by knowing you will be seeing them again in future.
  • It does get easier: In most cases, homesickness becomes easier to deal with the longer you live away from home!
  • Have a good look around: See new places. Plan trips on your days off work, go for a stroll on a weekend evening and go out for a meal or a drink in a new part of town every so often. Avoid making your lifestyle stagnant and try to rid yourself of feelings that you’ve already seen everything worth seeing in town. You can also take the opportunity to use your holidays to see other countries nearby that you are interested in. Maybe there is a country close to where you are that is more western orientated so that you can get some home comforts without actually going back home.
  • Give yourself some normality: If you used to go for a run in the park, read books, play computer games or go out dancing in bars back home; do the same or something similar in your new country.
  • Treat yourself to home comforts: You can get things posted out to you from virtually anywhere on the planet. Every so often ask people to send you some things that you miss from back home or order them online.
  • Stay healthy: You don’t need to become a fitness freak to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Having some good quality meals and staying hydrated is certainly a good start. If you are interested in playing sports, joining a gym or simply just getting out for a walk in the park; do it. A healthy body generally does lead to a healthier mind.