“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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?