Dealing with the inevitable.... homesickness

Authored by:
Kelly P.

Kelly P.

I knew it was going to happen at some point, but I didn't know when or how hard it would hit. After 5 months of living abroad, I was proud of myself for not being homesick yet. Of course I miss my family but I never felt the urge to go home..... 

Until this week.

Homesickness hit me hard and when I mean hard, I mean hard. Because of another Covid outbreak and more restrictions, two of my closest friends had to make the hard decision to leave a few weeks earlier than they planned. I was not expecting to have say goodbye so quickly and I definitely was not prepared. Although they had to leave quicker than they thought, I could see how excited they were to go home and see their family. Seeing them so excited to see their family when I knew that I wouldn't see mine for 5 more months, made me extremely jealous. I quickly spiraled into a dark place and cried more tears than I thought I was even capable of producing that weekend. I wanted to go home, and I wanted to go, tomorrow. The whole weekend was extremely difficult and I experienced a lot of emotions. Knowing I couldn't just jump on a flight to see my family made me so, so sad. 

Thankfully, a week has passed and I'm in such a better place mentally. Unfortunately, I think everyone will experience being homesick at some point while abroad. I think it's important to show the good times and the most difficult times because living abroad can be hard.  Here are a few things I did to help me come to peace about where I was and working through things I couldn't necessarily control. 

1. Calling family and friends

This was the biggest help for me.  Reach out to those family members and friends that you can be vulnerable with and will help talk you through the difficult times. I called a few friends crying because I was just so sad and there was no way I was going to be able to go home as soon as I wanted. Expressing how you're feeling and being able to process your emotions with someone else can help with those intense emotions that you may be feeling. It's important to have others give you words of encouragement to help you realize why you came to Thailand in the first place.

2. Order food or make a comfort food

Ordering food or making a food that reminds you of home, helps you forget the cultural differences temporarily. For me, I order Subway. It's one of the few American restaurants that deliver to my school and it tastes just like it does back home. It's a simple pleasure and I try to only order it when I really miss home. It's a little treat every once in a while and brings me a little bit of joy when I most need it. 

3. Journaling

This definitely helped me really process my emotions. I wrote down how I was feeling and what caused me to feel that way. I also wrote down things that I loved about Thailand and reasons I came here. When you become homesick, it's easy to see all the negatives and then focus on all the reasons you want to get out here. I like to write down things so that I can physically see how my life has been changing since moving abroad. When I can see reasons I love Thailand on paper, it’s easier to reflect on the good times.

4. Positive Self Talk

It's important to think of the positives. Know that you can do anything you can put your mind to and that hard times don't last forever! I had to focus my thoughts in a positive way because it's so easy to have tunnel vision on the negative thoughts. I had to keep telling myself that I am strong, courageous, and brave. Living abroad isn't for everyone and the fact that you have already made it abroad, shows that you are a courageous person!

5. Go somewhere that makes you think of home

Living abroad is hard. You experience so many new things each day and simple tasks can be exhausting especially with a distinct language barrier. When I need to feel a sense of home, I visit the mall or a specific grocery store. It sounds silly, but the mall and the grocery store I go to, help me forget that I'm in Thailand. Malls are very similar to malls in America and in the grocery store, I see a lot of brands I recognize from grocery stores back home. 

Being homesick is not a great feeling and it can be hard to overcome but remember, you are tough and made for hard things. You can get through anything if you put your mind to it! Even during the hardest days, living abroad has been one of the best decisions.

 The chances that I will ever live abroad again are very slim and I'm so thankful I decided to take the leap of faith and move abroad when I did because it's been an absolutely amazing experience! Try to remember that homesickness won't last forever and you will get through it!

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