Published on May 7, 2015

How to shake the homesick blues while living abroad

Living and interning abroad is a unique and exciting experience, but there are a few downsides. Homesickness is among them. It's an annoying little bug that can creep up on you and bite you hard when you least expect it. Never fear! There is more than one cure for the homesick blues.

 

how to beat homesickness

 

How to beat homesickness

 

Cure #1: Talk to your family

This is best done on Skype and while you're cuddled up in your room, wrapped in a blanket. You could even plan eating a meal together with your family, if the time difference isn't too bad. You'll get a sense of being together at the dinner table with mom and dad, even if you're thousands of miles away. I also recommend creating a family WhatsApp or Facebook group so everyone can contribute messages about their day, keeping the family on the same page.

 

Cure #2. Eat comfort food from home

Food has a powerful effect on our emotions and is one of the most important elements of any culture. Cook one of the dishes your mom and dad always made for you back home and you'll get a literal taste of home.

 

Cure #3. Listen to your hometown radio station

Thanks to online streaming and smartphone apps, there are lots of ways to listen to radio stations from back home using the internet. Listening to a station from your home city will trick your brain into feeling like you're back home, listening to the local traffic report, breaking news and local music.

 

how to beat homesickness

 

Cure #4. Go to a pet store

Find a furry friend to help distract you from your homesick feelings. Or find a friend who is willing to let you play with their pets. Kittens and puppies have special healing powers.

 

Cure #5. Go out with a friend who feels the same way

Bonding over mutual feelings of homesickness will connect you to another person abroad, forming a special bond. It's good to have people who can relate to your feelings of homesickness, even if you're from different places. You can talk about the people and things you miss, feel sorry for yourselves for a moment, then make plans for what exciting thing you're going to do next.

 

Cure #5. Go for a run

Exercising or going for a long run will produce happy-making endorphins that are sure to boost your mood if you're blue. Sometimes it just takes a little physical activity to get past feelings of anxiety.

 

Cure #6. Distract yourself

Plan an exciting day exploring the city or organize a day trip with some of your friends to distract yourself from feelings of homesickness. You'll be having so much fun planning and exploring you'll forget what you're missing back home.

 

how to beat homesickness

 

Cure #7. Write about it

Another strategy is to use the pen, or you're laptop, to work through the homesickness. One effective writing exercise is to make a list of reasons why you're exactly where you need to be, even though you're homesick. For example, "I'm homesick and wish I was home, but I'm exactly where I need to be because... I am earning professional experience, I am getting to know a new culture, I'm improving my Spanish, etc." It will help you reframe your situation.

 

Photo 1. based on Skype, by jayneandd, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. based on Lucy as a Kitten 1, by Pete, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on 2012-259 A Writing Six-Word Story, by Denise Krebs, CC-by-2.0

The author
Elizabeth Trovall
After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her third year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *