Once you have made the brave step to a new life in a foreign country, inevitably, at some stage you will start missing home and the things that you were used to. Missing friends, family, traditions and the food are typically the most difficult things you will have to deal with as an expatriate.
Missing home and the various other things that were important to you before you left is normal and is part of the transition into a new country and new culture. It can be especially hard if the culture of the country you have moved to is really different to what you were used to.
In the first few months or even the first year, you may feel as if you have lost your identity. Having this state of mind can amplify the feelings of missing home. Back home, people knew you and knew your personality. It may feel like you have to rebuild your identity. In some respects you have to, but it is important to remember why you moved to a new country in the first place. Maybe you wanted a fresh start in life. Grasp the opportunity this fresh start has given you. You could even give your personality a makeover and be someone new.
Dealing with missing home, friends and family can be made that much easier, but it takes effort. One of the important aspects you can do is to plan. Plan to make calls to friends and loved ones. Plan not to be alone. Don’t let yourself be alone too much as this is not good for your morale. Invite the new friends you make to spend time with you. Arrange for your family and friends back home to come and visit as much as possible. By being proactive and planning, you will have something to look forward to and this helps with the thoughts of missing home.
In this modern age of communications, there are many ways to keep in touch. Telephone, email, Internet chat and even via web cam video. Grasp the technology and get it working in your favour. You may feel that you are missing out on things at home, but imagine what a video of your nieces birthday party would do for you. Sure it would probably make you miss home, but you would still feel very much a part of what is happening back home and have not been forgotten.
Learn to fit in with the new culture you have found yourself in. Forget that back home you would celebrate Christmas like this, or would eat this on a Sunday. You are not at home so learn to live like the locals. Once you accept that the world around you is different, maybe then you will learn to live with it and feel part of something again. Perhaps that is when you can start to deal with missing home.
Missing home is difficult to overcome, but with effort, friends, a social life and enthusiasm to fit into this new life, it can be easier to deal with.