Homesickness Abroad

Almost everyone living far away from their friends and family experiences homesickness at some point. If you find yourself missing the familiar, you are not alone. It is perfectly normal to miss the sights and sounds of the “other world” you have temporarily left behind. Food is often one of the biggest causes of homesickness for almost everyone living abroad. Even if you love everything else about your new location, you probably still miss some of your favorite meals.

Homesickness won’t go away overnight but with some work and effort you will get through it and you will be glad you stayed the course. Each individual has his or her own way of overcoming homesick feelings.  Here are a few strategies that can help.

How to Reduce Homesickness – Over 20 tips to help reduce the feelings of homesickness and below are a few additional things to try.

  • Cook a meal for your host family.
  • Plan a trip with a friend or family from home. See if any of your family/friends can come for a short visit to the U.S.
  • Make a Bucket List for Exploring your New Country. Discover where you’d like to go and what activities you’d like to see. Challenge yourself to do/see them before you leave. This will help you think about your next adventure or goal rather than thinking about home.
  • Sign-up for education classes and meet new people
  • Exercise Regularly.
  • Schedule Some “Me” Time.
  • Take time to breath deeply and relax.
  • You have a full weekend off? Don’t sit at home, make plans for the weekend and experience something new.
  • Set new personal goals and work hard to reach them. And last but not least: Look back at your goals that you set before you came to the U.S. and remember why you decided to come to the U.S. What have you already achieved? Set new goals that will keep you excited.

Keeping a record of things that make you smile will provide you with incontestable proof that there are positive aspects to where you live – so the next time you feel like everything is terrible, all you have to do is look at your notebook or camera to prove to yourself that plenty of things are actually pretty great.

There will be times when you find this new life difficult. You may even think about going home early where things are familiar. Those moments are part of the experience, but that’s when you have to remember that you made a commitment to stick it out

Read about the cycle of  culture-shock-and-homesickness

How a host family can help their au pair with homesickness:

  • Invite your au pair to talk about her family and her friends at home. Ask her to describe personalities, tell stories, and talk politics. While some of this can look like ‘cultural exchange’, it can also help your au pair feel connected to her home.  For your au pair, sometimes being able to make far-away people part of her everyday conversations with you can help her create a connection between where she is now and where she was & will be. Instead of being isolated from home, she might think of herself as being what connects home and here.

A side benefit for you and your children is that you learn more about your au pair’s world– you may understand her more deeply, and/or get a fuller sense of who she is. This, in turn, can help build your relationships and reduce the loneliness that triggers homesickness.

To learn more about hosting an au pair and the benefits of the cultural-exchange and childcare program, please visit my website.


Sunday, 5 March 2017 5:59 AM


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