Today I wanted to talk about a topic that a lot of us expats have gone true, which is homesickness. Making the decision to move to a new country is already hard enough, but going through the process of adaptation can be another challenge once you are settled in as well. For those of you who are thinking of moving overseas for the first time, by no means I want to discourage you, but I just want to highlight that this may be something that you will go through after a few months that you have lived in the new place.
As the name already describes itself, homesickness is when you start missing home and start questioning the decision you made of moving overseas. You begin feeling more depressed as you start thinking of all the things you left behind that you really loved, including the people, culture, food, music, places, and of course family and friends.
This situation happens especially if you decide to move away permanently, because when you are in a place for a set period of time you normally try to enjoy it as much as you can, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you are immune to homesickness in this case as well.
When I first moved to Australia I was very happy at first as everything was new and exciting, my mind was busy thinking about everything I wanted to do and see, but as the months went by I began missing the contact of my family and friends, speaking my mother tongue and eating my mum’s food. I began missing everything familiar and the feeling that I belong. I also started getting very frustrated with speaking English, as, although I had lived overseas before for a short period of time and had taken extensive classes since childhood, the way I expressed myself wasn’t perfect, I had a very strong accent and just couldn’t communicate and sound the way I wanted. I also had the feeling that I sounded less intelligent than everyone else as my vocabulary wasn’t as extensive. After a few months these kind of situations really started getting to me and I began crying and questioning what I was doing with my life and my capability to adapt to that foreign place. It was definitely not easy, especially being alone there and on the other side of the world (from my home country that was).
But here I am, I survived guys! :) So I guess my advice to you who is going through something similar is – don’t give up and be patient! Unless you really can’t adapt to the place and it is seriously making you unhappy, then it is time to reconsider your decision and go back home or it could be that there is another better place for you out there. Homesickness is not meant to last for several months and years, so you should be the judge of your own happiness.
But if you do think that there is a possibility of you overcoming this obstacle, you should try to get yourself out there, make friends, try to learn more about local customs, get involved with activities that will make you grow as a person – it is really like starting to create your familiar world from scratch. Don’t forget that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so just face this obstacle with your head up and make it happen. It does not mean that you will stop missing your family and friends, food, etc., but you will know how to better cope with it and learn ways to still keep close to the ones and things you love.