How To Overcome Homesickness While Living Abroad
Since Friday, I found out the decision of my work permit extension. I thought it would take a while before it gets extended to 2 more years, but to my surprise, it only took 14 working days! When I applied for my first work permit, my passport expires in 9 months, so my work permit was valid for 9 months as well. Now, I don’t have to worry about it!
Soon I’ll be living in Sweden for 6 months. Every month, I am counting the days since I arrived because it still feels unreal. Sweden is my new home, but I still miss the Philippines. Although I’ve been away from home for only 6 months, I know a few tricks on how to overcome homesickness while living abroad.
I don’t have plans to go home soon; I’m worried that I might encounter the same problems that delayed my move here for months because of the exit clearance when you leave on a work permit. I think that it’s not worth the risk. Besides, my family can come and visit me here instead.
A few months away from home, I’m doing unexpectedly well. I remember when I moved to Australia, I cried during the first few weeks because I miss home. I didn’t cry this time. In fact, I even got more excited because of the opportunities and new adventures. Of course, there are moments when I miss the Philippines. I miss the food and how everything is cheap. I miss the days when I don’t worry about my food because buying meals or eating out is not a problem. Mostly, I miss the people: my friends, boyfriend, and family.
People often ask me if I miss home. I don’t really miss the place, but I miss the people.
Although I love living abroad, I still feel homesick. Here’s what I do to overcome homesickness.
How to overcome homesickness while living abroad
Experience life in your new place
It helps a lot because I have a job here. I spend most of my days at work, so my mind is preoccupied all the time. I love my job and I love what I do at work. It still feels like I am starting over again: meeting new people, learning about this new culture, and familiarizing myself with my new place. But, I’m still excited and happy because I crave for these new experiences.
As soon as I arrived here, I am out of my comfort zone; I’m not a tourist, I’m not a local either. Everything is completely different.
But, this is a journey that you should take to experience life in your new place. You didn’t just physically moved away from home, but mentally too.
Create a goal
Why did you move in the first place?
Think of the reason why you decided to move. Create a goal while living abroad, and work hard to achieve it. My initial goal is to experience working abroad – work with a company with diversity and different cultures. Next is to support my family financially. Finally, Sweden is a country where both Miguel and I decided to settle in. These give me reasons and encouragement to overcome homesickness.
Plan a vacation
Having a Philippine passport is a struggle because of the limited visa-free countries that we could visit. Visa application is a lot harder than you probably think, so I see it as a hassle. I’ve always dreamed of going on a trip to Europe whenever I want. Like, waking up then booking a trip to Paris or Amsterdam the next day.
Take advantage of cheap flights and go to unfamiliar places.
I found these bucket list challenges from kelseyh.com and hope to visit different countries and cities in Europe. Though I am planning to visit the Scandinavian countries first since I am here already.
Take advantage of technology
Being connected to my friends, family, and boyfriend is important to me. It’s a lot different now than it used to be. Thanks to technology, I can keep in contact with the people in the Philippines. I miss their physical presence, but at least I can still communicate with them, and we are still connected emotionally.
Although I said to take advantage of technology, don’t depend on it too much because you still have a life in your place now. It’s still important to get along with people around you, not just those who you talk to back home.
Always pick real life than social media.
Whenever I go to a new place here, I send it to my family and boyfriend and let them know how beautiful the place is. I also post it on social media. On the other hand, they also send me videos and pictures and make me feel that I am part of their trips.
Of course, video and voice call too! There was never a day when Miguel and I didn’t talk on the phone even if for 15 minutes only.
Enjoy your own company
People often think that because you’re alone, you’re feeling lonely. I said it before and I’ll say it a million times. Alone people are not always lonely. They enjoy the comfort of their own company.
Disconnect and enjoy your own company.
You’ll realize that once you start to appreciate your alone time, you’ll find yourself not chasing other people just to be with you.
Beat your boredom
Lately, I’ve been posting on my blog every week. I write down all my thoughts and pour my heart out in it. This is one way I beat my boredom and it helps me not think about home.
I think that I need more free time because there are lots of things that I want to do. Over the past few months, I spend most of my time on my blog – growing my blog and social media and building my own community in the online world – but I sometimes go somewhere to walk and feel the breath of fresh air.
I am never bored now.
Finally, self-care! Create a new routine, make new habits or keep up your habits, exercise and prioritize yourself. There’s nothing more important than taking care of yourself first. You don’t have to be guilty that you are enjoying your new life now. Lastly, treat yourself.
You deserve it.
I rarely feel homesick because my adventurous self enjoys these new experiences. It depends on how you cope up with homesickness, but these are the things I do that help me overcome it. You don’t have to feel bad because you feel homesick. Most importantly, don’t wish that you are somewhere else while you are living abroad. I am fortunate to be here in Sweden and I am planning to stay here for good.
Of course, it’s hard to be away from your family. I get worried every day and hope that nothing bad will happen to them. Being a thousand miles away makes it impossible for me to be there as soon as I can plus the tickets are expensive too. Nonetheless, think of this new experience as good memories that you’ll look back on someday. So, enjoy it and make the most out of it. Who knows, maybe you’ll feel homesick for your life abroad when you go back home!