One of our Teachanywhere consultants gives her personal experiences on homesickness, and the methods she has used to help her combat it.

Feeling homesick?

I’ve been there, done that and have the t-shirt.

I’m not going to lie to you, but it’s almost certainly bound to happen at some point. Maybe you’ll find yourself craving the company of family and friends, or perhaps you’ll really miss some home comfort. For me it was my young siblings and baked beans. At times it can feel like a heavy weight upon your chest, like a depression, whilst at other points it will be nought but a niggling feeling at the back of your mind. It can make you feel anxious, withdrawn and desperate, but I promise you this, you are not alone.

In its mildest form it’s harmless and will actually help you in the long run by prompting coping strategies and encouraging you to reach out to loved ones. Skype, WhatsApp and cheap international calling cards were all things that I heavily relied upon at various points of my global wanderings and they’re definitely things that I can recommend to you. If you’re in China get your family to download WeChat. It’ll save on the somewhat unreliable VPNs.

So, the question is, if you are feeling it, what do you do about it? I know it’s easier said than done, but the best thing you can do is to put yourself out there. 

Coping mechanisms

  • Get out of the house
  • Meet new people
  • Explore new places
  • Go to the gym
A lot of the time homesickness and loneliness go hand in hand because you don’t have the support network that you were used to. By forging new friendships you’ll start to feel more secure. That’s not to say you forget about your friends at home, but it’s nice to have someone close by that you can just call up and go for a coffee with.

Also, find those international stores! They do exist, but you just need to know where to look. Some UK stores even offer international delivery if you’re really stuck. Being able to get access to those things you miss, whether they be biscuits, fruit squash, your favourite chocolate bar, or baked beans (yes, I love them) may be enough to lighten your day. Learning to cook your favourite dishes from home is also a great way to connect with people and share your culture with them. I became quite famous for my curries in Spain, because we all know that chicken tikka masala is the epitome of British cuisine!

The best advice I can give though, is not to give up on your new life in whatever far off land you find yourself in. Yes, it can be difficult adjusting, but it will be worth it in the long run. I promise.My international experiences have changed me for the better- my horizons have been widened, I picked up a new language, and I made a host of new life-long friends along the way.

And remember, you’re not alone.