There’s no two ways about it, moving away from home is a big deal. Whether it be your first couple of days, weeks or even months into your new surroundings, reaching a point which requires you to deal with feelings of homesickness will be a matter of when as opposed to if. With a few across the sea moves and a recent European relocation, I’ve learned a few key things en route to aid this transitional period! If you’re about to make a move of your own and missing home is one of your biggest concerns, here are 7 key tips to help make your move be a little bit easier:
1. Take A Little Piece Of Home With You
Whether it be personal to you or simply something that reminds you of your home country, taking at least one item will help you feel somewhat connected to home and will provide you with a sense of familiarity. Personally, you’ll always find one very British thing in my room; an English piggy bank in New York and a Union Jack embroidered pillow here in Paris. It not only proves to be great décor (British pride and what not) but also acts as a constant happy reminder of my English home!
2. Keep Busy
The worst possible thing when moving somewhere new is to be inundated with free time. Keep busy: go for a walk, explore, get lost, join activities, start a language course and discover as many culturally new things as you can. Also learn to say yes … to anything and everything. If someone invites you to do something, even if you’re not necessarily feeling up to it, say yes and go along. It will be the perfect chance to get to know people and the city so you’ll soon begin to feel more at home.
3. Have Reunions To Look Forward To
Whether it be your loved ones coming to visit you or you returning home for a few days, try and have a rough idea of when the next encounter will be! It will put your mind at ease. Knowing I’m here in Paris and have friends and family coming to see me sporadically over the next couple of months before I return home for Christmas keeps those homesick feelings at bay.
4. Be Proactive In Meeting New People
If you’re feeling alone just remember that there are others out there who are in a similar position experiencing similar feelings! As I’m now an Au Pair in Paris I realized that there are several Facebook groups set up for new au pairs in the city. It’s a great way to get to know other people and meet new friends with similar schedules! Join in with meet ups or host your own. Be pro-active in both creating and settling into your new life!
5. Take Advantage Of Technology
With modern technologies you needn’t feel a million miles away! I’m fortunate to have a mum who will very rarely let a day pass without a check up call or message via Facebook in honesty, it never feels like I’m that far away. Skype, Facebook, Facetime, Whatsapp, Calls and Texts – there are so many ways to keep you in the loop with the happenings of home. Take advantage of them!
6. Remember Why You’re There
If you’ve moved for work, to learn a language or to simply have an adventure, always remembering why you’re there will aid this adaptation process and give you the drive to work through any difficult feelings you may be having.
7. Allow Yourself To Miss Home – It’s Normal!
Feelings are what make us human! If you’re homesick, embrace it and recognize it as a feeling that connects you to the place you grew up and your loved ones who are still there. Allow yourself to miss home, and just be happy that you do!
Throughout my expat adventures the most common question I always get asked is whether I miss home and of course I do, there’s no question about it. The thing is, beyond all of these emotions of homesickness and no matter how initially daunting it is to uproot time and time again, I do it anyway because I know that whether it be good or bad, I’ll learn something valuable. The best thing about home is that it will always be there as a security blanket and no matter how far you venture when you come back you’ll realize that in reality not much drastically changes. So feel the emotions, all of them, and go for it anyway!
“…Life’s not meant to be lived in one place!”