I am feeling homesick. Help me?
Your first week or so abroad you’re flying high. Nothing can touch you! Everything is new and amazing. You find yourself dodging worried texts from mom and courtesy-liking every “SO JEALOUS” Instagram comment. Then, as things start to slow down and life becomes more routine it starts to creep in.
Homesickness. That mixed heaviness and tightness in your chest when you want to share that last bite of dessert with your best friend, but they’re oceans away. When you just want a hug from mom after a long day volunteering. Or, when you just need a break from all things new and different.
Being homesick is totally normal. We’d go so far to say that even pro travelers like Anthony Bourdain and Rick Steves feel homesick from time to time. But, what can you do to make sure that you don’t get caught in a “feeling homesick funk?” We asked a few of our own meaningful travel pros for their best tips and tricks for how to get rid of homesickness when you’re missing home, and here’s their best advice! Watch the video or read the transcript below; then kick homesickness to the curb.
FEELING HOMESICK VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” - Winnie the Pooh
Hi everyone, my name is Rosa. Hi, my name is Broc. My name is Ben Brower. I’m Jade Lansing. I’m Kate Mosser, and I’ve been a meaningful traveler since I was 16. Twenty countries later and I’m still as obsessed as ever.
How to Get Rid of Homesickness
Homesickness was more than missing my friends and family— although that was definitely a part of it. It’s going to be different for everybody. And, for someone who has actually lived in quite a few countries and cities, I thought I was immune to homesickness, but in fact that wasn’t the case at all. For me, being homesick would always build up.
There’s a separation between what all the people around you are feeling and where your heart really is. You’re neither here, nor there. You’re not home, but you’re also not fully invested where you’re at either, and it’s this weird kind of limbo. I’ve seen people feel depressed, or have a lack of energy. Really just wishing I could share some of these awesome experiences with my people back home. It’s not always an easy thing, sometimes you just miss your family. And then, knowing that there was no way you were ever really going to be able to relay these experiences to the people that you care most about.
Here are six strategies for when you’re missing home
Mostly, for me, bouts of homesickness go away on their own, but for others action needs to be taken... so here's how to cure homesickness.
1. Focus on the positive.
I try to focus on the positive aspects of wherever I am. Remember, you’re there for a short time. Whether it’s three months, six months, or one year, it will go by in a blink. Sometimes, you need to take a step back and realize exactly where you are. Enjoy the differences that might be the reason that you’re feeling homesick.
2. Don’t call home too often.
DON’T CALL HOME EVERY TIME YOU MISS THEM! My mother disagrees with this, but trust me. Honestly, it’s so true. When you’re constantly on Skype and totally investing your energy back home, you miss out on so much in your new country. But, at the same time…
3. Keep in touch (because mom misses you).
Don’t ignore your friends and family back home. Keep in contact with them; they miss you, too! Sometimes a call to friends and family is all you need when you’re missing home.
4. Make new friends abroad.
There are friends from all around the world who have come to the same place as you, for the same reason. Family and friends, they can be supportive, but they don’t understand what it’s like to feel homesick. Remember, they [your new friends] are most likely experiencing the same thing that you are (missing home!), and they need you just as much as you need them. So, who better to talk about what just happened in that very-strange-cultural-different moment, than the person who just went through it with you? This is a great strategy when you’re feeling homesick.
5. Write out your feels.
Keep a journal! My journal sucks if I want to remember what I was doing every day, but it’s great for reminding myself that feelings are not permanent. Make a list of all the things you miss about home and then, right next to it, make a list of all the things you’ve learned since you left. There will be good days and not so good days.
6. Treat yo’self to a day off.
Take a break if you need it. I give myself permission to take the day off. I treat myself to comfort food, and write postcards to the people around the world that feel like home to me. NOW who’s missing home?!
Let’s Recap on How to Stop Feeling Homesick
- Focus on the positive.
- Don’t call home too often! But, at the same time, keep in touch.
- Make new friends abroad.
- Write out your feels.
- Treat yo’self to a day off.
When You’re Missing Home, Hang in There
It hasn’t been easy. Keep fighting the good fight, my friend. Just know that home is totally going to be there for you when you get back. Go out, explore, make friends, breathe in that country smell that you will probably never have the time to do ever again. Embrace the newness around you and make it a part of you.
Choosing to invest in a life abroad means you’re creating a second home across the globe that someday, you’ll no doubt be homesick for, too. You’re the one that will have changed. Home grows wider to encompass all of the people who have nourished you on your travels. And, you’ll have so much more to share with your friends and family when you do get back home.
Take that, homesickness!
A very special THANK YOU to our Spring 2017 Writer’s Academy members for their wonderful words of wisdom: Rosa Jung, Broc Bainter, Ben Brower, Jade Lansing, and Kate Mosser.
Ready to Go Abroad? Here are Some Next Steps!
Now that you’re ready to conquer feeling homesick right out of the gate, we want to help you find your perfect program abroad. Whether that’s studying, volunteering, teaching, or interning, check out these travel tools to help you get started:
- Create a MyGoAbroad account to save and compare programs side-by-side
- Get free, custom program advice from the GoAbroad Online Advisors
Do More Research
Watch more videos to help guide your decision-making:
- What is Study Abroad?
- The Lowdown on How to Volunteer Abroad for Free
- Expert Advice on How to Teach English Abroad
Browse Reputable Travel Programs for 2017-2018
We’re just going to throw these out there. Here are some supa-awesome travel programs:
Study Abroad Programs
- International Studies Abroad (ISA) - 239 Reviews, 9.63 Rating
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- See all of your study abroad program options
Volunteer Abroad Programs
- GVI - 1315 Reviews, 9.75 Rating
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Intern Abroad Programs
- The Intern Group - 157 Reviews, 9.53 Rating
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- See all of your internship abroad program options
Teach Abroad Programs
- API Study Abroad - 196 Reviews, 9.34 Rating
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- International TEFL Academy (ITA) - 10 Reviews, 9.30 Rating
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