How to Combat Homesickness

Brad has been overseas for over a year. Here's his key to staying sane.

Homesickness. Oh how I hate you.

Now, being homesick is nothing to be ashamed of. Even the most emotionally stable beings go through stages of just being depressed about not seeing friends and family. And of course, this only happens when you are having a bad day. You never think about being homesick when you are at a massive party with hundreds of fellow travelers. No, it’s when you are home alone on a Friday night and you are alone with your thoughts.

That being said, you cannot let this overtake your entire life while abroad. If you dwell on the things you miss, how will you feel about the things you never knew while abroad?

From my experiences of being abroad, this is the main reason for people to a) not travel and live abroad for an extended amount of time or b) have an awful time abroad. A lot of things change when you live abroad, and this is something that you cannot fight. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Embrace the change. If you have a loving family like I do, it does get very hard to not talk to them as frequently as you like to and especially to go months, and in my case over a year, without seeing any member of your family.

So how have I done it? Simple: Stay busy! Staying busy is the one piece of advice I can give you in order to properly combat homesickness. Be a “yes” (wo)man! No matter what the situation is, doing completely random things that come up are the best way to make the most of your time abroad and usually where the most memorable events happen.

Living abroad shouldn’t feel like a burden and if you are constantly homesick, it will start to feel like something you have to do—not something you want to do. So don’t be scared about being homesick because it will happen. It is unavoidable but as long as you stay busy and are constantly trying new things while abroad, than I guarantee you will won’t be counting down the days till your home, but counting the days when you can start a whole new adventure abroad.

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Brad Richards

Brad Richards represents AIESEC Guelph in Ontario, Canada. He is currently completing an internship through AIESEC in Porto, Portugal as Product Manager for AppGeneration. He moved to Portugal at the end of August 2011 and recently extended his contract until December 2012.

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