Homesickness is all too common, so we've gathered some of our favourite tips for feeling more at home when you're interning abroad.
Getting the chance to live and work in another country is an amazing opportunity, not only for your career, but to help you grow as a person. You might find that when you intern abroad, you'll get struck with homesickness.
Homesickness is a feeling of anxiety because of the separation from home, family or close friends. This usually happens when people leave home to study or work. Maybe you're homesick because you've moved abroad, or perhaps you've just moved to a new city and are feeling a bit stuck, so you might be wondering how you can deal with these feelings.
There are many ways to reduce the feeling of loneliness such as joining social clubs, attending cultural events, practicing sports speaking with our family. There are also practices such as breathing exercises or meditation that help to calm the mind and focus on the present moment.
We’ve chosen a few of our favourite ways to combat homesickness while you’re interning abroad and listed them here.
Yoga and Meditation
Practicing yoga can help with relaxation and reduce stress which might occur while moving abroad. There are many different types of yoga classes available all over the world, so finding one to suit you should be easy. The differences between them are mostly associated with the pace of the workout, intensity and repetition. Yoga is a great way to meet new people, take care of the body and most importantly, relax the mind. Research has shown that practicing yoga helps with increasing self-esteem and improving psychological well-being.
Another practice that aims to calm the mind is meditation. Meditation aims to clear the mind, improve self-awareness, and lower stress and anxiety. There are many types of meditation such as mindfulness meditation and movement meditation. Meditation helps to recognise thoughts by observing them and letting them flow without judging. This practice helps to release negative thoughts and reduce anxiety. Some forms of meditation focus on movement that leads you to a deeper connection with your body and mind. It might even help reduce any stress from your internship placement!
Breathing exercises are another way to release tension and reduce stress. There are many techniques, and each of them aims to eliminate anxiety and calm the mind by focusing on breathing.
There are many events such as language exchanges, local festivals, concerts or karaoke nights that allow people to socialise and build new connections while being abroad. Making new friends in a new city can help with decreasing loneliness and boosting energy, which might reduce the feeling of homesickness. You might even meet other people who are interning!
Being in contact with someone who shares the same experiences often helps to overcome difficulties and daily obstacles. Language Exchanges are free events organized in many cities for people to practice new languages and build new friendships. These activities are an amazing opportunity to meet local people and get an insight into their culture. What’s more, being conscious of the traditions of a certain country and knowing its language can help you feel more comfortable and confident while living abroad.
During an internship, you might have the chance to attend local events related to the culture, for example a flamenco show in Spain, or a traditional pub quiz in England. Something like this is not only a chance to socialize and make new friends, but also a great way to soak up the local culture.
Attending guided tours would also provide an opportunity to learn more about the city and feel more at home by knowing its history. While some tours are paid for, there are often free tours available, and there might even be one in your native language.
Family Time and Self-Development
The internet era allows people to communicate much quicker and easier, even across a large distance. Video calling is a great way to fight homesickness. Not only can you speak with your family or friends, but you might feel closer to them because you can actually see their expressions and feel more engaged in the actual conversation.
Don’t feel scared to express how you feel because feeling lonely while being abroad is very common and affects a lot of people. Contacting family or close friends could make you feel more supported and understood, which would help to reduce your anxiety. Reading books can allow you to relax your mind and work on self-development. During lonely moments, books might help to understand your emotions and help reduce stress. Reading would lower your heart rate and help you to reduce tension in your body.
Self-development doesn’t have to stop at reading. While you’re interning abroad, it might be a great time to start journalling, as you’re bound to have many new experiences. Journalling can help reduce negative emotions like homesickness by getting them out of your brain, but it’s also a way of keeping a time capsule of your time abroad.
Doing your internship abroad might be challenging sometimes, that’s why it’s worth working on something you’re passionate about, as it could entertain you during stressful moments.
If you are passionate about films for example, film clubs create the opportunity to watch movies together and socialise, so not only do you get to enjoy watching something, you also get to discuss it afterwards. What’s more, often there are local film festivals that allow people to watch indie films for a small amount of money.
If your passion is cooking, you could attend social cooking classes to learn more about cooking, and maybe try your hand at some local dishes you might never have heard of! This would allow you to spend some time with people who share the same passion and would develop your culinary skills even more.
Another idea for relaxing the body would be to attend dancing classes such as Salsa, Flamenco, Zumba or any other dance that you would be interested in learning. Dancing would allow you to express the emotions that are stored in the body and release the emotional baggage.
There are too many passions to list one-by-one, but whatever it is that you’re interested in, there’s bound to be a local community where you can work on your passion, and make new friends along the way.
Moving to another country brings many challenges and unexpected emotions. However, there are many practices available that might help to reduce difficult emotions and tension in the body. There isn’t one fix-all that works for everybody, but there’s almost certainly something that will help you deal with homesickness, and who knows – maybe the city where you're interning will start to feel like home.
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