As someone who has migrated a fair few times in my days, I often get asked if I ever experience homesickness and how I cope with it.
The truth is, I almost never do. ”Home is where your heart is” might be an old cliché, but it does point to an important thing. If you have moved from one country to another (or even one city to another) with the intent of living there for a significant period of time, you are home.
So, that is what we are going to be talking about today. How to leave one world behind and enter a new one.
1. Don’t phone home
Whenever you feel homesick, a lot of people will tell you to call someone. This might make you feel better temporarily, but it will not cure homesickness. Of course, you shouldn’t stop talking to people for no reason at all. However, if you do not normally speak to your parents several times each week, do not start doing it now.
2. Don’t fall into the familiarity trap
“I just want to speak my native language for a while.” This is a trap a lot of international students fall into. For some reason, people tend to gravitate towards people who share their native language. If you are struggling with the language spoken at your new home, it’s extra important that you learn it. Reverting back to your native tongue makes that process more difficult. I recommend going cold turkey. Oh, and just because someone speaks the same native language as you, you might not have much in common. If they spoke another language, would you still be friends? If the answer is no, it is probably not your future BFF you’re talking to.
3. Do make new friends
It is daunting to move to a new place, especially if you don’t know anyone. The thing is, your life in your new home is going to be a lot more pleasant if you have local friends. Start by leaving your room and continue by leaving your house. If you are a student, there are usually several student clubs and organisations you can get involved in. Go to a fitness class. Talk to your flatmates. Talk to people in your class. Find other people who are interested in the same things as you are. There are millions of people in Brisbane, you are going to find someone to befriend.
4. Do try new things
No matter if you’re moving to a new country or just a new city, chances are your new home will offer you the chance to try things you haven’t tried before. This is a great opportunity to fall in love with new activities and discover skills you did not even know you had. It is also a great way to achieve point number 3 on this list. One of the first things I signed up for when I moved to Brisbane was the university’s debate society, and it remains one of the best decisions I have ever made. At this stage, the vast majority of my friends are people I have met through debating or debaters. My point is that you should try new things, because you never know what you will discover.
5. Remember why you moved
People do not decide to move without a reason. When things get difficult, it is very important to remember why you made the choice to move. It is easy to forget that when all you can think about is your loved ones or how much you miss your hometown. Do not be afraid of making decisions. Deciding to move from one place to another is a bit like transferring degrees or changing jobs, you want to be certain that you made the right decision but if you did make the wrong one there is always an opportunity to make a new decision. ”I wish I was brave enough to move” is something you will probably hear from the people in your hometown. As someone who has migrated between countries about six or so times over the last few years, I can confirm that this modified saying is accurate.
”If you don’t like things were you are, move! You are not a tree”.