How To Deal With Homesickness

“I felt a pang — a strange and inexplicable pang that I had never felt before.” – Alan Bradley

I know that when you move abroad, it’s scary. You’re alone in a new place where you don’t know anyone. Now, I never got homesick when I moved to England, and I understand that I’m the exception to the rule. This summer I was travelling, and I got homesick for the first time in my life. Not for the Netherlands, but for Aldershot. I missed the kids, and my host parents and I had one day where it was really hard to not just cancel my holiday and go back home. So, here are some tips on how to deal with homesickness when you’re an au pair.

It’s natural to miss home

A concern many people have before leaving for their year as an au pair is homesickness and missing out on spending time with family and friends back home. But being away from them will bring you closer to the people who are meant to be in your life and take you away from those who shouldn’t. You’ll find out who will actually make an effort to keep your friendship alive.

Everyone gets homesick to some degree. The ways you deal with it will help you grow. Will, you try to find a way to move past the situation or do you let homesickness take away from the amazing time you can have while abroad? Remind yourself why you wanted to be an au pair and focus on that when you miss home. It can also help to just call your parents/siblings/friends and talk to them for a bit.

Some ways to deal with homesickness

  1. Make a bucket list for exploring your new country

    Do a little research about where you’re living and make a list of places to explore (coffee shops, street art, places to go hiking, whatever you’re into). Challenge yourself to go to all of these places before you leave. This gives you something to focus on and to do instead of dwelling on what’s happening at home.

  2. Make your new home a home

    Even if you wanted to, it’s just not possible to bring all of your stuff with you when you go abroad for a year. But you can make your new room feel more like home. Spend some time and money on things that make you happy. Things are easier if you feel comfortable in your room.

  3. Take a break from Skype

    Skype is an amazing way to keep in touch with your family and friends. But if you spend a couple of hours a day talking to them and catching up on what you’ve missed, you’re not using that time to get settled into your new home. Find a healthy balance between contacting your friends and family and living your life somewhere else.

  4. Keep up with habits and hobbies

    If you had certain hobbies or habits at home, you’ll miss that part of your social life. So why not try to do it in your new location? Keeping up with a hobby or activity helps bring balance and routine back to your daily life. Join a book club, go to the gym, practice with a band… These activities will help you meet new people, and they will bring you a sense of comfort.

  5. Schedule some alone-time

    You shouldn’t hide from your problems, but sometimes a little alone-time can be good to help you relax. Try to find an empty room, dim the lights, close your eyes and just breathe. Feel whatever it is you need to feel. Let yourself cry if you need it.

  6. Document positive moments

    If you’re really down, your thoughts start to turn negative as well. Keeping a record of things that make you smile will provide you with proof that there are positive things about the country you live in. Next time you feel bad, all you have to do is look at pictures on your phone or notes you’ve taken to remind yourself that there’s plenty of good things in your life.

  7. Talk to others about how your feeling

    Everyone gets homesick and trying to ignore it will not make it go away any faster. Talk to other au pairs – they will definitely know how your feeling. Talk to your host parents so that they can try to cheer you up. Call your parents and friends and tell them you miss them. And once you’ve talked about it with people, go and do something to get your mind off of it.

Homesickness isn’t something you can just shake off. You have to get out of your own mind and find ways to distract yourself. What are some things you guys do when you’re homesick?

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31 Comments

  1. 19 September 2018 / 3:56 pm

    This is great advice. I think that a change in what you are focusing on can be very helpful. Being homesick is hard, but there is always something positive happening around us that can get us out of that mood, and you have explained it perfectly in your post

  2. Karla
    19 September 2018 / 1:29 pm

    Well,ive been to a situation where I feel so homesick withy my hometown especially with my kids. We have been apart for a year and its so hard to handle. The only way I did to survive is to mingle with some new friends and always have a videocall with my kids. Social mediareally helps a lot.

  3. 18 September 2018 / 9:54 pm

    Taking a break from Skype is a really practical advice because we end up spending more time in our comfort zone, getting our emotional needs met rather than taking the chance & making new friends, exploring the new place & collecting new memories. Basically learning, growing & making the most of our time.
    – Nandita

  4. Flavia Bernardes
    18 September 2018 / 8:41 pm

    Those are great tips and I’m definitely going to remember them next time I’m abroad. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Megan
    18 September 2018 / 1:46 pm

    Thank you for sharing this – I still get homesick although I’ve lived away from home for a good few years now 🙁

  6. Rosey
    18 September 2018 / 1:10 pm

    You definitely can’t bring everything with you. I know it’s hard to miss home.

  7. 18 September 2018 / 3:15 am

    Great tips. I have been away from my parents house for nearly two years and I only get to visit them four times a year. Sometimes I do wish I can visit more often.

  8. Shaily
    17 September 2018 / 10:08 pm

    Very helpful tips to deal with homesickness in a new place. I agree with you that we miss people more than the places. Talking to other people about how we feel and making new friends really helps.

  9. 15 September 2018 / 3:00 pm

    These are awesome tips that would have been useful when my daughter lived overseas for a year. She made extraordinary memories but was homesick quite a bit too.

  10. 14 September 2018 / 7:20 pm

    I left my home country and started living completely alone when I just turned 15, and I have to say I know a thing or two about home sickness. I, in fact think that alone time is quite dangerous, especially at the beginning. It is really important to keep yourself engaged with a lot of activities and people.
    This is the type of sickness that goes away with time, and, truth is, I am not sure this is a good thing, because you basically see how your once strong connection with your home slips away from you and there comes a day when you no longer belong there.

  11. 14 September 2018 / 6:51 pm

    I think it’s a big point. Most of all we miss people not places. I have never experience being homesick but it’s actually due my birthplace suited my lifestyle and job the most so I didn’t need to move.

  12. Carmen Edwards
    14 September 2018 / 2:28 pm

    These are such great trips. We recently moved to a new state away from family and friends. The past 6 months has been about getting to know our new home state.

  13. Olivia
    14 September 2018 / 8:33 am

    All such good tips. When I went to school I had waves of being home sick. Whenever that happened I surrounded myself with the people that I loved there! Also finding a routine and started a life helps out a lot!

  14. 14 September 2018 / 7:24 am

    Very helpful tips to tackle loneliness in new place. I have often experienced hobbies help. Now that my daughter is in a new place I keep suggesting her these tips.

  15. mjndiaye
    14 September 2018 / 2:57 am

    This is such a great list. We implemented some of these when my stepdaughter came to live with us a few years ago here in the US, from her native country of Senegal. It helped to keep her busy and show her new scenery and ways of life.

  16. 13 September 2018 / 11:16 pm

    This is great advice for anyone going abroad or spending long periods away from home. It can be hard to adjust but give it time and your new home might start to feel like home too.

  17. curiousandgeeks
    13 September 2018 / 10:31 pm

    I don’t think I have ever felt homesick, but that’s probably because I moved with my family and got busy really quickly.
    Some great tips there, thanks for sharing.

  18. 13 September 2018 / 9:22 pm

    When I move 3000 miles aways from my family homesickness was definitely there. I ended up moving back home because it was just to much for me.

  19. 13 September 2018 / 8:36 pm

    I love taking reminders of home with me, such as photographs or blankets. Also I love traveling with my kids, it’s much less fun leaving them at home.

  20. Joanna
    13 September 2018 / 7:16 pm

    I do travel all the time but for some reason, I never felt homesick. I do love to travel and I have moved twice to different countries.

  21. 13 September 2018 / 6:55 pm

    This is really good advice. My sister is away at school for the first time and I am going to send this over to her. Thanks!

  22. 13 September 2018 / 6:07 pm

    This is really great advice! I think not staying glued to Skype is a great point, because it really keeps you from getting to know your new surroundings, and keeps you stuck somewhere else. Definitely most important, to me, is talking to others about how you feel!

  23. 13 September 2018 / 5:08 pm

    I never thought about how much facetime or skype actually makes me miss home more! A bucket list for exploring is a great idea!

  24. kelly richardson
    13 September 2018 / 4:28 pm

    I left home to move to a new country with the hubby. It has since been 10 yrs that I’ve lived in a new country. I think you never quite get over being home sick. I find that learning something new or joining a club for hobbies has helped. I learnt yoga and made new friends. I also find comfort in learning to cook the food that remind me of home.

  25. 13 September 2018 / 2:55 pm

    These are great tips for anyone who feeling home sick or away from home. I remembered when I was studying abroad in Japan, the home sick feeling were not pleasant! Totally agree to make a list of to do thing in the new country, pick up new interest and make new friends.

  26. 13 September 2018 / 1:58 pm

    Great list. I would add, get out and meet people. You won’t have time to be homesick. 🙂

  27. Leanne
    13 September 2018 / 4:19 am

    These are such great tips for travelling and feeling homesick. It’s tough when you’re alone and abroad, but coping with that takes time to adjust. Love your tip on scheduling some alone time and getting used the new environment!

  28. 13 September 2018 / 3:24 am

    This is such a great list, even just for a local move. My daughter has to move every 8 months for her job, and has lived all of the US and China. You have to be intentional about focusing on tasks and the future.

  29. 13 September 2018 / 1:46 am

    When I moved from New Jersey USA to Atlanta Georgia USA it was a very difficult emotional change but the longer I stayed I was less homesick thank you for the post I can relate

  30. 12 September 2018 / 8:42 pm

    These are really great tips! Such an important read.

  31. 11 September 2018 / 11:43 am

    I am an immigrant and I can totally relate to this post. The thing that helped me the most during my first few years was to join community groups and sports groups, through them I was able to make great friendships.

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