Moving to a new country is a big step. While it can be an exciting adventure, it can also be incredibly scary and sad. Everyone copes with the move differently. Some of us will cry and call our friends or family straight away. Some will find it easy and adapt quickly, and some of us will lock our feelings away afraid to admit we’re struggling. There’s no handbook to make the transition easy. No matter how small the move may sound only you know how you will feel and handle it.
Recently I moved to southern England and even though it may be ‘just across the pond’ it was a massive change for me. I found that the new culture and different phrases made it difficult to adjust. My home sickness got worse as the weeks went on. I’ve been here for three months now and while I’ve settled into my job and made friends, I still have days where struggle with homesickness. It takes time but I’ve learnt that it’s okay to have bad days.
Here are some of thing that have helped me with my homesickness:
Learn about where you are moving to
Read up on the town, city and country you’re moving to and find out if there are any interesting things you can do or see while you’re there.Find out where you can play your favourite sport or hobby as this is a great way to make new friends. If you don’t play sports or have a hobby, maybe this is a good time to try new things and see if there is something you’re interested in.
Learn about the culture and language if needed. It’ll help with the culture shock and allow you to settle in more easily.
Talk to people
Some people struggle with meeting new people and striking up a conversation with strangers. But once you start a conversation, people will know you’re new to the area and most people will try to help you out. If you get invited to events, whether its a group activity or a night out, try to head along even if you find it nerve wracking. It can be a great way to get to know new people.
Step out of your comfort zone
For some this can be a big struggle, but just like the first two points, the more you push yourself the easier you’ll find it to make friends and adjust to your new home. You might find this step easy but it’s okay if you do struggle.
Recognise and accept your feelings
Whether you feel sad or angry, recognising and accepting those feelings can really help. There’s nothing embarrassing about your feelings or how long may last. Cry if you need to. You’re not alone and people around you will understand and support you.
Honestly, call home whenever you need to. Don’t let anyone tell you when you should or shouldn’t or how often. Sometimes calling home can help you through the rest of the day. Your family and friends will always be there for you and knowing that you have their support can give you renewed energy for the day.
Talk to someone
Be open about how you’re doing. Try not to feel pressured into acting happy around everyone when you’re not. People will be happy to listen and support you if they can. Speak to your family and friends too. Keeping them in the dark about how your feeling might just make you feel worse. When you talk to people openly about how you’re feeling, it allows you to work through your feelings and lift your mood.
Coming home is harder than leaving
It might sound silly but coming home for a visit can make things harder. Seeing your home, catching up with friends and family can reinforce your homesickness. But remember there is nothing wrong with feeling home sick. I still have days where I miss home. It won’t always be easy but with time you’ll find your footing.
If you’re considering moving, whether for college or work, my advice would be to do it. You’re never really going to know how you’ll cope until you make the move. Even if you don’t like being away from home you can surprise yourself with how you’re able to step out of your comfort zone, or to strike up conversations with new people. I’ve gained so much confidence and experience from the move and it’s exciting to think where else my life is going to take me.