Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Top Five Tips to Beat Homesickness

Moving abroad is huge decision, one that brings on a wide spectrum of emotions, from excitement to fear, from stress to delight. An extremely common emotion during the expat process is homesickness. It is an almost inevitable part in the great transition of moving abroad that can detrimentally affect the entire experience.

Here are five useful steps to help beat the blues:
1. Socialise: get involved in as many activities and organisations as possible. Taking up a new hobby  is a great way to keep distracted and meet new people. Immersing yourself in a new routine will help detach you from the aspects of home life that you are missing most.

2.  Home comforts: If you are feeling particularly homesick try to do something that you associate with home. For instance watch a television programme or film that reminds you of home, or eat food that you would normally have at home.
3.  Talk: “A problem shared is a problem halved” - If you feel really down, talk to someone about it. Even if they can’t do something to directly help, getting an issue off your chest will make you feel better. Also, talk to the friends and family that you miss from home. Not too regularly however as too much contact will only make you miss them more. Try to work a Skype session into your routine, maybe once or twice a week.

 4. Get away: Take a day trip to somewhere new that you think you would enjoy. Getting away but not going home may give you a fresh perspective on your situation plus a change of scenery may distract you from your worries.

5. Stay positive: wallowing in your own sadness will not help how you feel, except probably make you feel worse. Try to spend as much time as possible around people instead of suffering in silence on your own.

Overall it is important to throw yourself in at the deep end. Immerse yourself in your new location, attempt to learn as much about the culture, and meet as many people, as you can.


  1. Nothing cures American homesick blues like a peanut butter and jelly or fluffernutter sandwich! :)

    Good advice on the getting away tip. A lot of people probably over look that one!

  2. 1. Close your eyes, picture your favourite place at home and just breathe it in, keep breathing,until the homesickness disappears- it does eventually
    2. If you can't be at home (or in Canada) find a place where you are now where you get the feeling you could be home!! I found a lake and I go there and pretend!

    I've been an expat for over 30 (!!) years and I still get those homesickness attacks!

  3. London expat and psychologist Ana Mariana did a survey/study among expats about nostalgia. In her Master's thesis she posed these ideas:
    Homesickness is an emotion that tends to lead one into a negative emotional spiral, which can lead to depression and dysfunction.
    Nostalgia is a normal psychological ‘defense mechanism’ that is used to fight against the negativity of homesickness and turn it around for good.
    We did a webinar with her that went into this in some depth. You can find it on our site.

  4. Great article! I'm going to repost it on my blog as well. I was surprised to experience a small wave of homesickness last week after 4 years of living abroad. It's good to share the human condition.

  5. Great article! Indeed noting beats homesickness more than a good chunck of Dutch cheese. I used this website and asked a traveler to bring the cheese to Asia: http://www.fillupmyluggage.com


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