What’s one of the hardest things about working abroad? Leaving the life you’ve known and the ones you love. You long for your friends and family. You miss your favorite restaurants and bars, the comforting sounds and smells of the familiar. But the reality is, you’re in a new place and you’re going to be there for a while. You need to adjust and create a new life for yourself. Avoid homesickness with these tips.
Make like a tourist.
Explore your new home and make new memories. Who knows when you’ll get a chance to be in this country again? Read up on famous landmarks and tourist spots during the week and check them out over the weekend. You’ll soak in the local culture, and give yourself something to look forward to at the end of every workweek.
Live like a local.
Find a park bench to call your own. Go to the same grocery once a week until the cashier recognizes you. Check out the weekend markets and become a vendor’s suki. Look for a café you can have brunch every Sunday morning. As soon as you can, find hangouts you can learn to love—it will help you settle in faster and chase away those blues.
Turn your new home into a sanctuary.
Transform your apartment or house into a clean and comfortable space. Fill it up with your favorite colors and textures, art and mementos. Get a bed you’ll want to dive into every night. If you have a hobby, make a little corner for it. Your home is your haven—make it a place for rest and entertainment.
Make your workspace your own.
As much as company rules allow, decorate your workspace with things that make you feel confident, capable, and comfortable. Bring the outdoors in with a small plant. Display your favorite family and travel photos. Buy a mug that makes you laugh and use it every day. If you’re all about motivational quotes, put up your favorites. You’re going to be spending a lot of time at your workstation, so take it from drab to fab as soon as you can!
Don’t underestimate the power of endorphins, whether from a short walk or a hardcore workout at the gym. Whether you do it for five or fifty minutes, exercise can be a great mood lift. It’s also an opportunity for you to get out of the apartment—and your thoughts—and just focus on sweating it out. The stress of a new job in a new country can take its toll, so take care of yourself. The last thing you want to be is sick while you’re homesick!
Find a fellow Filipino.
Perhaps one of the best things about being a homesick Filipino working abroad is that there’s a very big chance you’ll run into a fellow Filipino while you’re overseas. We Filipinos are everywhere so go look for a kabayan! Comfort each other and talk about missing home and tinola, speaking Tagalog and eating fishballs on a busy sidewalk. Learn from their experience and get tips and tricks on how they navigated the trials of being an overseas worker. Let them become your friends, and pretty soon, they may turn into your new family while you’re abroad.
Communicate with friends and family regularly.
Because of time zone differences, this might be early in the morning, around lunchtime, or right before you go to bed. But it’s something you can look forward to regularly. No matter how busy, sad or tired you are, you know the exact time you’ll be able to see and hear from the ones you love. Seek comfort and strength from that.
Look for a group that caters to your hobbies—and try learning new ones.
Whether it's reading or calligraphy, cooking, or playing sports join a group that caters to your interests. You’ll spend time doing what you love with people who feel the same—definitely the best place to make new friends. On the flip side, you can also try something entirely outside your comfort zone. When was the last time you tried something new? Remember how exhilarating it was? Capture that feeling again!
Nourish your soul.
Whether you call it religion or spirituality, find it at church, a mosque, a synagogue, or underneath a tree, there is a part of us that responds to the beauty and kindness in this world. Hold on to that. Find a religious service you can attend regularly and find solace in prayers you’ve known all your life. Celebrate the simple pleasure of walking in a park under a clear blue sky or the warmth of a cup of hot coffee. These days, life may be a little difficult. Acknowledge it, but also recognize that better days will come—just take it a moment, an hour, a day at a time.
Check out WorkAbroad.ph for more guides and tips to make your overseas job search a lot easier!