Getting Over Homesickness

Once you get your basic necessities arranged and the excitement of your new country wears off a bit, you could find yourself moving through the stages of homesickness. I know I did, and it’s an emotional roller coaster for you, the people you interact with in your new country, and your friends and family back “home.”

Homesickness and Grief
The brain on homesickness is much like the brain on grief—the stages and emotions are remarkably similar, and that makes sense. You are, after all, mourning the death of your former existence to a large degree.

According to the article Feeling homesick? (at canadianimmigrant.ca):

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Confronted by feelings of loss, many immigrants experience a profound sense of grief. Grief is a natural emotional reaction to loss. Theorists suggest that it is characterized by five stages — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, otherwise known as the grief cycle.

I can attest to the similarity of homesickness and grief, because I absolutely went through all the stages (if you go through my posts in the Expat Adventures and Australia categories, you will read all the telltale signs—I have deliberately not removed some of my more scathing posts as a testament to this). At times I was at absolute war with my new surroundings. I mean I resisted everything. Other times, I felt like I couldn’t get out of bed, I was so depressed—and I’m a pretty strong, resilient woman—so my inability to cope initially surprised even me.

Eventually I stopped beating myself up about how I was handling life as an expat, and accepted that I was indeed moving through the stages of homesickness. I resigned myself to dealing with things one day at a time…some days I was totally fine, others weepy here and there. But the days between those emotions eventually grew as I adjusted. I came to genuinely enjoy many things about Sydney (in spite of my frustration), and the truth is, now, it is forever a part of my heart.

UPDATE | October 2013: New resources have been added below. And if you’re feeling homesick now, be sure you read through the comments and my responses in the comments section…you are not alone! The answers you are hoping for are probably already there. :)

Homesickness Resources
Half of the homesickness battle is education and distraction, the other half is time, plain and simple. You will adjust, but it might take six months to a year or longer. The process is very individual and you may or may not experience severe homesickness depending on what happened in your life before you moved overseas. In the interim, here are links to help you better understand and cope with homesickness:

Next: Getting Connected

Comments

  1. Holly says

    Thanks for your candid discussion of expat homesickness. I moved from San Francisco to London three months ago, and there are days the pain of being 5,000 miles from home can be so acute I feel like there’s a hole in my chest. I’ve been beating myself up for being “weak,” so it helps to read of others’ experiences and know that what I’m feeling is normal! Much appreciated!

    • says

      Holly~

      Thank you for your comment. I know exactly how you feel, which is why I put these posts together. If just one person—like you—reads and realizes they are not alone in these feelings, that they are totally normal, then I have achieved something!

      The one-month and three-month milestones were very difficult for me, and I know all too well the acuteness of that hole in the chest. Expat blogs can be a wonderful source of support and camaraderie; I hope you have found other America-to-London blogs because those mirrored experiences really help to validate your feelings and know that your are totally within the realm.

      Thanks again for your comment. If you ever want to chat, find me on Twitter @gritandglamour.

      Hang in there! It does get better. And spring is around the corner, thank goodness.

  2. Layne says

    Thanks for talking about your homesickness experience. I am 18 and I am spenidng a year in Australia. I’ve only been here fro 3 days and it’s much harder being away from my family than I thought it would be. I’m from Houston and I honestly feel like I left my heart there and it just hurts. I’m glad to know that homesickness is just a part of being away from home so thank you!

    • says

      Oh, Layne, honey, I know what you are feeling! Thank you for commenting.

      Those of us from the American south know an unbridled, exceptional amount of freedom, and aside from missing our loved ones, the rules and general rigidity of Australia can seem quite oppressive. Do your best to not beat yourself up…you are experiencing life upside down and inside out! It wasn’t until my Aussie hubby came here and experienced our freedoms, our exceptionally high quality of life for a low cost of living that he understood why I found it so difficult to adjust in Sydney. Know that unless someone has done exactly what you are doing, they can never really understand what it is like, and unfortunately, you may find that people you thought were your friends will suddenly have a massive loss of patience and understanding.

      What I can tell you is that even though living in Australia was extremely challenging for me, it was an amazing experience that made me a stronger, more resilient person. I have always been terrified of being alone, and although I was not alone in Oz, I realized after all of it (because emotionally, you are totally alone initially) that I was stronger than I realized and I COULD be alone. This may sound crazy right now, but down the track, you will understand.

      So here is my advice:

      1. Stay busy. Volunteer or connect with American expats through Meetup or an Internet search for groups there.
      2. Enjoy the beauty of Australia. It really is just absolutely gorgeous.
      3. Try to remember this is temporary…so make the most of it.
      4. Enjoy these things: cheap, excellent wine (THE BEST); Bundaberg Rum; Tim Tams; excellent Indian and Thai food; “No worries, arvo, Maccas” — all those crazy and fun Aussie sayings; stunning beaches.
      5. Skype and Webcam as often as you need with your American family and friends and don’t feel bad about it!
      6. The Aussies are GORGE! Find someone who takes your fancy and it’s all more bearable!

      Email me if you ever need support. Seriously.

      Best of luck to you!

      xo

  3. Mike McClean says

    I really enjoyed reading your blog and advice for homesickness. Im in a different kind of position. I actually was born in Sydney and grew up here until I was just 18. My dad got a position in Dallas, Tx so the whole family moved over there. I hated Texas at first and felt strongly as an Aussie that missed home. Over the years I fell in love with Texas, went to college and experienced it all in my young age. Unfortunately I got into trouble a few years ago and was deported back to Australia two months ago. Im not allowed to return to the United States again. My parents and two brothers are still over there but are in different states. Luckily my little brother has just come back to Australia to live. Its weird as although Im Australian and Im at home I felt like Texas was my real home now and I wanted my life to be there. I find it hard in some ways to let go of the great things I had over in Texas and the great people I knew. The hardest thing to except is I cant ever go back over there. I will take your advice and live day by day, I know I will get better but its just hard not to let my mind race about “what could of been” in the great state of Texas

    • says

      Mike~

      Thanks for your comment, and for sharing your situation. I feel for you, I truly do. One thing that has always terrified me is the idea that the U.S. and Australian governments ultimately hold the future of my relationship with my husband in their hands. While my husband now has a green card here in the U.S., as your experience illustrates, that is no real guarantee of the ability to stay in the country permanently.I do remind him often, and he is aware that he cannot make rash decisions that could potentially jeopardize his immigration status.

      At least your brother is there. Keep yourself busy, try to make this radical change in your life a catalyst for positive change. That’s all you can do…you have to move forward and know that although the separation is devastating, it will not kill you. Hopefully your family will be able to come visit you in the future.

      Good luck, sending positive energy your way.

  4. Madhura says

    I really enjoyed this blog too! I am glad to know I am not the only one going through this.
    I just moved from NC to the Carribean to study med. school and it’s hitting me really hard. I miss my home, my family and friends and I just can’t stop thinking about being back there. I have to be here for another year and a half with three week breaks every four months or so. Right now, I am just waiting for classes to start so that I can get busy and stop thinking about being back home but it’s so hard being away! I want to enjoy the island but I can’t stop thinking about going back home, which surprised me because I have always wanted to travel and explore the world. Sigh.

    • says

      Madhura~

      I can seriously identify with being surprised by homesickness when you have jetsetter dreams. Traveling for exploration is VERY different than moving somewhere, as you now know. Everyone on earth I’ve ever spoken to has said, “why would you leave Sydney?” Or if they’ve been on vacay there, “I’d love to live there!” What they don’t realize (especially some Americans who are used to a different modern life with more freedom and convenience) is that when you are on holiday, you don’t experience the logistics of everyday life. You look at most places through rose-colored glasses, and with cash in your pocket for holiday indulgences. It’s not until you live somewhere that you find out that most buildings aren’t fully ducted for climate control, that phone contracts are two years and you’re liable for the full amount, that you pay for Internet by the gig, or that all the stores shut at like 6pm. Those are the things that DRIVE YOU CRAZY…

      Anyway, as I’ve said to some above, you must keep yourself busy. Try to find an expat group to hook up with. Remind yourself that it’s temporary, and thank God, flying home to NC isn’t that far (unlike to Oz…my God, the flights). Skype with your friends and family (video calls are enormously helpful). Above all, do not lie in bed depressed all day. I’ve found that even forcing myself out for a walk did wonders because nature and people distracted me. I always came back feeling better than I had left. Your classes will start before you know it and that is excellent for occupying your mind and making friends. You will make peace with your temporary home, i promise. It takes months, but eventually, you will.

      Thanks for your comment…you’ll be OK. And when all else fails, start a blog! It got me through so many days in Oz when I had no one to cry to or hang out with. Writing about your experience helps others, and is very cathartic.

  5. Rachel says

    Thanks so much for this blog post! I’m studying abroad in Spain for just one semester, but I’m struggling with homesickness a lot! I was feeling very alone in my unfortunate state of homesickness, but this blog makes me realize that women all over the world are facing the same thing and are getting through it =)
    Hopefully I will be another one to get through it!

    • says

      Hang in there, Rachel! I know it’s tough. It can feel sooooo black some days. Try to stay as busy as possible. And keep reminding yourself that it’s temporary! Please read through the comment above as well…my tips there apply to you too!

    • says

      A little late responding, but thanks for your comment! Homesickness really has nothing to do with where you are as much as where you call “home,” no matter what country or city that may be. The roots we put down, the familiarity…doesn’t matter where you are or how great it might be, you still end up missing the feeling and ease of home.

      An Aussie will always think Australia is the best, an American, the USA, a Parisian, France. It’s all relative!

  6. Alicia says

    It’s weird, because it’s taken me over a year of living abroad to start feeling homesick, but now it’s hit with a vengeance. Of course, over the past year I have had some days of missing home, but never like this. Now I’m often weepy and feeling a bit distant from others around me, including my husband. I’m a Californian living just outside Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. I’ve lived here, like I said, for just over a year and am actually transferring down to London in a week for work. I thought I would be so excited about it, I had really wanted to live in London, but I’m not. Perhaps my longing for home has been accentuated by the going away parties my husband is having thrown for him, showing that he was able to make lots of good friends, while I personally don’t feel I’ve really gotten close to anyone.

    Like all the other commenters, I’m trying to live day by day and remind myself why I moved here. I also try to tell myself that these emotions are temporary and I need to stick with it and work my way through them. If months down the road, I can’t and I’m still feeling this upset, I can always return home. My husband and I having our careers here would make that difficult, but not much more difficult than when we moved here in the first place.

    In the meantime, I am embracing the little things. I just looked out my window at another gray and drizzly day (which actually doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would) and saw two magpies in a tree. One of my favorite things about Newcastle is the number of magpies. I love to watch them fly about. According to the rhythm, two magpies together means ‘joy’ right? For now, I’ll hold on to that.

    • says

      Alicia, thank you for your comment. I hope that in writing it, it gave you some release, and in reading the comments, maybe some peace too?

      My heart always breaks when I see a comment from someone who is in the blackness and longing of homesickness. I’ve written it before, and I will write it again: no one who hasn’t experienced major homesickness can ever comprehend it or understand how low it can make you feel, and how unpredictable it is. They’ll just never get it, and that alienates you even more, which is the worst for combating homesickness.

      I am surprised that your homesickness set in so late; not sure if you have moved around a lot in your life, and if that’s the case. At any rate, in my novice opinion, it’s probably because the novelty and excitement has worn off. And that’s totally OK, just as it’s OK that your husband seemed to have had an easier time making friends. We’re all different, and as women, we are more emotional and I think friendships are MUCH harder to establish and maintain. When I was in Australia, I really didn’t make a single friend. I had some acquaintances, but no real friends, which as you know, doesn’t help because it isolates you further. Don’t worry about that, and do not be ashamed of your feelings. Sometimes you have to cry or have a pity party or rage in your room to get it out.

      I loved what you wrote about the magpies…so beautiful, and such a great attitude to have. I don’t know you, but I sense that you are bright and intelligent and resourceful. You are strong and only you can decide if after your move to London, if England really fits. You moved there, you can move back. I did. I gave up everything and tried Oz and it just didn’t work, and seriously, there were constant roadblocks. So I pulled the pin and went back to the U.S. I got another car and another job and settled back in, and you know what? I got a better car than I had before, and a higher paying job, and things have been falling into place since I returned in January 2010. I truly believe that when you are on your right life’s path, the Universe opens the doors for you.

      So wait and see. Maybe this move will be the perfect thing for you both. Maybe you’ll make those friends and finally settle in. Maybe you won’t. Just know that life is too short to live it in pain and unhappiness. If it doesn’t work and you know you can’t really be happy there, talk to your husband and put a plan together. It will all work out for the best, I just know it.

      My best to you, and drop me a line at gritandglamour@gmail.com with an update if you are so inclined. Would love to hear how things are going.

      ~V

      • Swapna says

        Hi,

        I just stumbled upon this blog post and want to thank you for such helpful post! I and my hubby are from India and we migrated to Oz one year back, almost immediately after getting married. We both have stayed in USA for couple of years when we both were single and not dating – I was there for work purporses and he for his higher studies. We both love USA lifestyle and freedom that you have commented about. But as getting US citizenship is so very difficult, my hubby had applied for Oz PR that brought us both in Sydney. Initial months/ first year went quickly since we had to get jobs, get ourselves settled etc. My job allows me to work from home so I could move with my hubby when he secured a job in small coastal town in NSW. The homesickness is quite recent feeling for me and making me depressed, sad, weepy. I am at home alone all the time working from my home office except for weekends. My company offices are located only in big cities so going to office is not an option, i was going to regular office while we were in sydney. Although I know few local people now, haven’t got any ‘friends’ to share things with or even hang out over cup of coffee/ brunch etc. I had plenty of friends in my home country, am in touch with them through emails etc but people tend to get busy in their lives…and we have started kind of loosing touch. I regularly talk to my parents, sister using skype, phone calls but feel lonely on day to day basis…

        Thanks once again.

        Cheers,

        Swapna

  7. Sara says

    My husband and I moved from Cali to Virginia two weeks ago and it’s been incredibly difficult for me. I’ll admit that unlike my sisters I’m absolutely not a traveler. So this is hitting me extremely hard. Some days my heart aches so much it’s like a physical pain. My security is gone and all my family resides in Cali where as he at least has a brother out here. I recently got a job out here and I start in a week or so and while I know I should feel excited I’m not. In my mind it throws a wrench in my plans for going home. It scares me to pieces that we might be out here for longer than a month and most likely for years. But in my mind or rather my heart I was making plans to go home sooner rather than later and whatever logic I had goes out the window. My husband is being supportive but it’s difficult for him to see me so miserable especially after he sees me in tears after talking to my mom.

    I can understand where you said you were resistant to everything. That’s the way I feel right now like I’m purposely sabotaging any sort of happiness I may out here and determined to hate everything as if to say “See honey I told you we wouldn’t like it. Lets go home” Which is unfair to my husband. So for right now I’m doing my best to take it just one day at a time and not freak out which isn’t easy. I hope this gets better. I hate this.

    • says

      Hi Sara, I can definitely understand how you feel at the moment. I felt exactly the same when I moved away from my home city for the first time at age 37. And talk about tough! I wasn’t even in the same country! It IS a physical pain, a whole-body absorption that keeps you from being able to be in the moment, or feel joy or hope. Completely and totally normal, and unfortunately, kind of par for the course. As I’ve mentioned in comments above, it is this feeling of blackness that just grips you and makes you cry unexpectedly and feel so low. Do not think you are being dramatic. You are not. Your feelings are legitimate and it would be abnormal if you didn’t miss home a lot.

      Now, how to handle those feelings? Yes, you do begin to feel terrified at the prospect of not going back home, and it causes you to only see the flaws in everything, even to sabotage yourself in order to force the outcome you prefer. That is totally normal too. Making those plans in your head? Yup, that’s a realistic response. I have a girlfriend who moved from home to Florida and it took her 6 years to settle in. But do know that everyday of those six years wasn’t awful. Even my husband had major homesickness when he came to the US to be with me, and he still has the occasional blue day after a year under his belt, but I know he is adjusting because now those bouts of melancholy and anger are coming less often. The beginning is tough, but it really does get better, or at least you acclimate to a point where you are not despondent, even if you don’t like your environment.

      So. Stay as busy as you can. Tell yourself this isn’t forever, because, in reality it isn’t. You will visit your family. You will go home again. Over time, if things still aren’t good, you are in control of your happiness and you have to make the right decision for you. I know you’re not excited about your new job and that’s OK. The fact that you already have a job lined up is fantastic, because having somewhere to go and meet people is the best thing for you. You’ll see that after you start working, things will get better. I couldn’t work for months in Oz and it practically killed me. Within 4 months of coming to the US, my husband was in school, and now even has an internship, which has been incredible for helping him adjust. He no longer talks about wanting to go home, only that he misses his family. So, again, just go to your new job, allow yourself to feel what you feel without comparisons or guilt, and it will all work out. Read blogs, make comments, write, cry, run, workout…whatever it takes for now. You will get through it.

      Let me know how you are doing when you get the chance. Would love to know.

      Keep your chin up! :)

      V

  8. Penny says

    I’m originally from England and me and my family moved to Saskatchewan Canada in 2007. I still feel what I think is homesickness but it’s hard to tell after this long. I’m at the point where I’m so angry I refuse to stand for the anthem, have a general hatred for all things Canadian and just can’t wait to get the heck out of here. I feel sort of as though the longer I’m here the less of the life I was supposed to have is left to live. I have re-occurring dreams where I walk past my old house only to collapse on the floor paralyzed. I thought that maybe if I went back to England for a while I would disillusion myself and get over it, but when I came back to Canada I also returned to square one. Does this SOUND like homesickness? It seems ridiculous that it should last five years. Thanks.

    • says

      Hi Penny~

      So sorry to hear that you are feeling at odds with Canada, even after several years there. But know that it is totally normal! Sometimes visiting the place and people we miss so much does the opposite of soothing us once back in our new “home”…we go through a mini homesickness all over again! It has happened to me. And to my husband when he went back to Australia for five weeks after his first eight months in the U.S. He was so out of sorts for the first month or so after he got back to the U.S. Your anger is very indicative of a phase of homesickness. Anger and fighting against all the norms of your new country, being short-tempered or despondent…all typical side effects of homesickness. Give yourself some time to adjust again. It won’t be so bad after a few weeks have passed.

      I have a girlfriend who moved from one state to another in the U.S. and suffered from homesickness for the first FIVE YEARS that she was there! And she was still in her own country! Eventually she adjusted, and most do. But you know what? If Canada is not where you want to be, then start putting together a plan to go back to England or wherever it is you prefer to be. Life is too short to live it unfulfilled. So if you want to go back, you should.

      If you aren’t able to go back to England, or not for a long while, then I suggest that you join an expat club. Even five years in, sharing stories (and common complaints) will make you feel less alone, and you may make some new friends who are more sympathetic of your plight than Canadians or people who’ve never dealt with homesickness.

      Wishing you the best and feel free to check in and let me know how you are doing! Thanks for your comment.

      • says

        and i though i was the only one feeling homesick even though i am in my own country. I am from malaysia, btw. just started uni in september and living in a dorm in another state is sooo hard, although this nov is the 3rd month already. I guess it takes a while for me, as I am very attached to my fanmily. I start crying whenever I hear my mum’s voice on the phone, and it breaks her heart to hear me crying through the phone. I tried keeping myself busy, but somehow cant help but feel lonely some times. thanks for this post though, makes me feel all of us are in this together! :)

  9. Sarah says

    I am from Ireland and moved to the United Arab Emirates in August. I was quite settled until I went home for Christmas and returned back to the UAE a couple of days ago. I have left a boyfriend behind, and I miss him and my family so much. I have felt sad, lonely and quite upset; much like after my 5 year relationship break up! At the moment however, I am in bed and have not yet felt the urge to wail, so, I’m hoping this means I am starting to emerge from my doom and gloom. Nice to read about others who have felt the same way and no that I’m not alone!

    XX

    • says

      Hi Sarah…I do hope that you’re coming out of the fog. Sometimes going home makes leaving difficult again, even if it refreshes the psyche and quells the missing for a bit. You’re definitely NOT alone!

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

  10. Dana says

    I’m from California, have lived in NSW for about 7 years now, and am engaged to an Aussie. The longer I live here, the harder I feel it is getting. My fiance promises me that one day we will move to CA (like your husband, he loves the States and can see why I miss it) but for now we know that due to the economy back home and the lack of free health care, we should stay here a few more years and have our kids here for free. While my head knows that this made sense, I feel like I left my heart (what’s not with my fiance!) in San Francisco…

    Hearing you about the oppressive rules here, lack of climate control in buildings. Also, I find it really hard as an American to overcome people’s prejudices about us and it’s been super tough finding a job. I have one, but it’s not one I love, and I’ve applied to a bunch of other positions and can’t find anyone else willing to take me on.

    As much as we look the same and speak the same, Americans and Aussies are just different.

    • says

      Oh, Dana, you hit the nail on the head! Americans and Aussies are so different! And I totally get the frustration with the anti-American sentiment. I found the job search equally as frustrating, especially since in the U.S., I get calls from headhunters regularly! I did feel that to some degree, finding a job was more difficult for me as an American.

      The America bashing that happens in the news daily there is really annoying. That’s one of the many things that has been a selling point for my husband here: Americans love accents, and they love Aussies, even if it is a mostly unrequited cultural love. Our news media do not constantly insult Australia. Definitely makes it a little easier to cope.

      You do have a point, however, about taking advantage of the free health care there if you choose to start a family. Maybe you can put together a plan with your fiancé to move back to the U.S. before your future kids are school age. Despite our flawed health care system, in many states it is a LOT easier and cheaper to live than it is in Oz, now that it’s one of the most expensive countries in the world.

      Whatever you decide, I wish you much luck and I hope that your feelings of sadness and missing home will ease up. Try to tell yourself that you will be back soon enough, so you can try to enjoy your life there in the meantime. Oh, and when you decide to come back, get your fiancé’s visa paperwork going ASAP. It’s a long process, even when you are married. Took us about eight months, and we were already married for a year, with squeaky clean records.

      Luck and light to you! Feel free to pop back in here and let me know how you are!

  11. Dana says

    Thanks for such a quick and lengthy response! And thanks for the tip about the visa paperwork. I’m about to go through my second round for “de facto spouse” paperwork and it was a pain the first go so can only imagine what it is like coming to the U.S. The kindness of your response really made my evening so thanks again.

  12. Claire says

    Wow, just stumbled upon this looking up homesick advice, and this above anything else has helped the most, just to know that someone has felt exactly as I do now. I moved to Australia from Austin, Texas in October and I feel my heart breaking all the time. I miss austin, my family, friends, job, everything so much. I think I cry or feel like crying just about everyday. Just going grocery shopping makes me want to cry for some reason. I haven’t made a single friend. My family doesn’t understand why I’m not enjoying paradise, people who have come here studied abroad, but living here is completely different from that. I feel like I do nothing but complain. I didn’t want to move in the first place. Austin had become my home even though I had only been there a year, I fell in love with it and my job there, I was so happy. I moved here so that me and my boyfriend could stay together, for his job we’ll have to stay here a few years. I thought I would adjust because I studied abroad in the past and have always loved traveling. But i haven’t. My boyfriend has been so wonderful to me, he has seen me at my worst and tries to comfort me the best he can, he has also payed for a lot of things because I haven’t been able to get a job. But he isn’t homesick and doesn’t really relate to how I feel.

    I’ve gotten to the point where I sit around hating everything and everyone here, I resent this place and just want to go home so bad. I miss everything. The only reason I’m here is because I love my boyfriend so much, but it’s been really hard. My close friend will be getting married and has told me that because I’m living here she’s not going to ask me to be a bridesmaid, she doesn’t mean it in a mean way or as punishment, but because it’s so far away it’s just too complicated to organize that part along with everything else. I could go on and on, but I just wanted to say thank you for posting something that lets me know I’m not alone with how I’ve been feeling. It helps.

    • says

      Oh, Claire, your comment has been in my thoughts since the notification hit my email inbox. Honey, I am so, so, so sorry you are feeling bad, and yet I completely understand your emotions. Again and again women comment here about how much more difficult it is for them to adjust to a new country than their partners. That’s OK! That’s typical! We’re women…we are more emotional than men, generally closer to our families than men, so consequently, more affected by the distance than men. And then knowing you’re missing things like weddings and birthdays (missed my dad’s 70th) is just more fuel for the fire.

      Of COURSE you’re despondent and angry. You’ve just hit three months…my homesickness was RAGING at that point. You cry for anything, at the drop of a hat, even when you weren’t in a “bad” mood. And crying going to the grocery store? Oh yes I did. Between the astronomical prices for everything from meat to shellfish to shaving gel, it was the first time I ever had to ration my money for food and put things back on the shelf. The selections are not what we are accustomed to in the U.S. So even though it’s just shopping for groceries, it’s one more affront, one more “alien” thing, one more thing you are sacrificing to be there.

      Your sadness, regret, anxiousness, and longing are normal and typical. Don’t feel bad about how you feel or the fact that your boyfriend seems to be doing OK. In time, this heaviness will lessen, and you will be able to function better than you are now. But I will say that you should give it some time and listen to your heart. Sometimes love and a beautiful environment are not enough compensation for the everyday life and events and conveniences you have sacrificed to be in Oz. Frankly, they weren’t enough for me, and thankfully, after I left Oz, my husband decided he’d rather try it in the States than just call it a day. As much as I hated the strain on our relationship, the reality is that you cannot hold anyone accountable for your happiness, so after some time, if it’s not right, you have to make the right decision for you. You have one life, honey. You MUST make the most of it!

      That said, try to stick it out a bit longer because it does ease up. Try to connect with some American expats through an expat club or Meetup…it does help. Look at this as a learning experience, a temporary thing, because it likely is. As tortured as I was in Sydney, I learned so very much about myself from my experience living there, and was a much better partner to my husband when he left Australia to move to the U.S. The earliest days of being in a new country are the hardest. Eventually you do come to terms enough that you aren’t crying and angry all the time. But again, when you find that even keel, you will know if it’s right for you. For me, the ease, conveniences, and my marketability in the U.S. eventually won out. (I also had a hell of a time trying to get an interview there, and in the U.S., I have recruiters contacting me regularly.) So yes, I believe in love, but your boyfriend SHOULD pay for you for as long as necessary since you uprooted your entire life for him. And love is fabulous, but we are born into this world as individuals and we die the same way. If you aren’t happy, you aren’t happy. So don’t feel bad about making the right decision for YOU!

      Please let me know how you are…I sincerely hope you are well and that there will be light and happiness in your very near future.

      xo

  13. says

    I just recently found your blog and was thrilled to find out that you’re an expat yourself… I moved to the US from Germany (permanently) 6 years ago and I can relate so much to what you wrote about getting settled and being homesick. Uprooting one’s whole existence is a big undertaking and an adventure, at first, yes, but also requires a lot of determination and discipline if you want to succeed.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this journey!

    • says

      Hi San…thanks for your comment. I agree…the one thing people don’t realize is HOW much determination and discipline it takes to succeed at life in a new place. It’s not just overcoming emotions. There’s a ton of paperwork involved too!

      Hope the U.S. is treating you kindly!

  14. Steph says

    Hey! I’ve found that it’s been the other way around for me. I went to Germany for 9 weeks on exchange and I felt a bit homesick whilst I was overseas, but that went away after a few weeks and by the end I was having such a ball that I didn’t want to go home at all. Now that I am at home, it’s pretty much that feeling of homesickness amplified 5 fold. I don’t understand it! I’m not even supposed to be “homesick”, because I’m actually at “home”. If you have any advice overcoming this strange, deluded form of “homesickness” please let me know, because it’s having an effect on my family and friends, who have no idea how to deal with me.

    • says

      Steph~

      Thanks for your comment. I can identify with your confusion about what seems like reverse homesickness. I actually felt a bit of it myself when I first came back to the U.S. from Australia. Although I was so happy to be home, I felt torn between the two places, like I was “missing” stuff going on in Sydney.

      I suspect that because you knew you were on exchange, you knew it was temporary, which is a bit different than packing up all your worldly things and moving them somewhere else permanently. Your brain wraps itself around that concept much easier. As such, I’m sure you had a lot more fun because you were probably in school with people your age, with forced interactions, vs. isolation (especially if you are the spouse of someone who moved for a job, and you don’t yet have one.) When you can focus on school or a short engagement in another country with lots of activities already on the calendar—and no worries about mortgages and contracts and trying to make new friends in a new life—it’s bound to be much more pleasant.

      In the past, I’ve felt melancholy after coming home from an extended vacation, which sounds like what you are experiencing more than homesickness. When you’re having fun, then it’s back to the same-old, same-old, it’s a little depressing. But I’m sure with time it will pass and you’ll be just fine. As you did overseas, you should throw yourself into work and/or school here so you stay busy and your mind focuses on what your situation is here instead of what you miss about Germany. Good luck!

  15. Iain says

    My partner moved over here to the UK from VA in 2006. He is from a very close family and we go back once every couple of years. We’re supposed to be going back over to visit in the Summer, but the usual thing has happened. He begins to not want to go because he’s dreading what happens at the airport when we come ‘home’.
    His parents are much in the same boat, it seems like everyone is stuck in the grieving stage of mourning or something. I wish I could help them all move on and get over it, but his parents just won’t move on, he won’t move on. I just don’t know what to do.

  16. Ker says

    Just found your blog today during a frantic online search for how to get over homesickness!! i moved to Sydney from Ireland 6 months ago and I only started feeling homesick today because my boyfriend cant come over for another two months (from Ireland) my best friend had to move to a different part of Oz for work and I had to move into a house with people I dont know. On top of that my mom just informed me my godmother is very ill :( I have a fantastic dream job here and the place is so wonderful I know but I feel like just running as fast as I can to the airport and zooming home. I have never felt like this before!! I know it is temporary but gosh what a nightmare these feelings are! great big blogs of tears are rolling down my cheeks, really hope it gets better, I stop being silly and I can get on with my great life here.

  17. Elissa says

    I happened to stumble upon this website, I have a million things running through my mind. My husband and I got married and I relocated from southern california to be with him up in northern cali (his family is from there). We made a life for ourselves lived there for about 3 years had a daughter then he lost his job. I never liked living up there to begin with and it took me over a year to adjust I said let’s take the plunge and move to southern cali where my family is. We’ve been here over a year and strangely I am missing living up north it’s harder I think because due to my husband losing his job we moved to a place with my parents. When my husband lost his job his family in Virginia offered to have us move over there, they had a great job with the family business available for him, a house everything. Because california is so expensive the offer seems more and more tempting. But I’m afraid of taking that step because it is so far away from my family (opposite side of the country) and I did resent my husband for moving up north (he refused to move down south) when we were first married. The economy is rough, we have baby number 2 on the way, miss having our own place and life isn’t affordable in california right now and there seems to be such a great opportunity in virginia but I’m afraid if we do move I’ll just be absolutely miserable.

  18. Jules says

    Hi all, it is great to hear that we all seem to feel the same. Homesickness is horrible. Ive been living in Melbourne for almost 15 years and I still miss home, being Adelaide. It’s not far but I just can’t be with my family when I really need them. I feel so much homesickness that it’s turned into depression. I feel helpless in my situation because , now I have family here and family there. I feel I have complicated my life, my husbands life and my children’s life. If our heart calls us home, then we should follow otherwise what’s the point?? Now I’m too scared to stay and too scared to go? So confused! Just brings me to think about the true meaning of life? What is it all for? What is it all about? Family? My family or his?

    • says

      Jules, so sorry to read how tormented you are at the moment…I can definitely understand this “neither here nor there” feeling. Following your heart isn’t always the easiest thing when you have roots in two places. Maybe you should consider talking to someone who can help you better understand this onslaught of emotion after 15 years, and how to deal with it one way or the other. You should also definitely talk to your husband and see what the possibilities are. Perhaps you can come to an agreement for a move. Or maybe you can come to an agreement that when your children are on holiday, you can take an extended vacation home with them.

      I do hope you find peace and a solution. Depression related to homesickness can really destroy you and your relationships. So I urge you to connect with an expat group (even though you aren’t one, the feelings of loss and longing are still the same), or a specialist that can help you dissect and move past this phase in your life.

      Good luck, my dear. Sending you positive energy. :)

    • Maree says

      This is such a useful blog! Like Jules, I have lived in Melbourne for more than fifteen years after moving from WA. I think homesickness can hit at any stage, especially if other circumstances change, such as the awareness of aging, parents back home coming to the end of their life, etc. I came to Melbourne for a job which ended about seven years ago. That job provided friends, contacts, meaning, etc, which all drifted away once I left and made me realize that I only actually had a small number of close friends here and still have large numbers of friends and family back ‘home’. At that point, part of me felt, suddenly, What am I doing here? I can go home now. But…I have adult children here and it’s not simple. I try to visit ‘home’ often and whilst it can help temporarily, it can also make me feel unsettled. A major factor is the climate. I hate the long, cold (gloomy) winters here and long for more light for most of the year. I don’t know the answer but I am trying to live in the moment, be where I am and accept that life has challenges where-ever we live. I do strongly believe though, that re-locating changes us and it’s not a change we can ‘undo’ by returning to where we came from.

      • says

        Maree, I’m so sorry to hear you are missing home…but am glad you have found some comfort in reading this post and the comments. As you know, homesickness can hit years in, and really, you never, ever stop missing “home.” But this is an extremely important observation you made:

        “I do strongly believe though, that re-locating changes us and it’s not a change we can ‘undo’ by returning to where we came from.”

        This is so true. When you move and leave your family behind and experience so many new things, it DOES change you. I can tell you that my husband, who is going on his fourth year as an Aussie expat in the U.S., will always miss home. And he longs to move back. But then when he’s there, he misses some of the freedoms and ease he enjoys here. When he’s here, he thinks he’d like to move back, but then he wonders what he’d do there, how he’d get along at a cost of living that is double. I know that like you, there is a special place in his heart for “home” and his adopted home in the U.S.

        All you can do is remember that those pangs of homesickness do pass. Allow yourself to feel them, and live in the moment as you are. You know they come and go. When they are particularly bad, try to remind yourself of what you DO love about where you are now, what you would be missing if you had the chance to pack it all up and go back to WA.

        Best of luck to you, and thank you for sharing!

  19. louise says

    hi, I have recently moved from my country life in Scotland to a busy town life in England to be with my boyfriend it was the hardest thing ever moving and I had made arrangements to visit my family on a regular basis but with my new hectic life style and job I find it difficult to get the time off to go home. I have also made no new friends since moving as i am really shy as a person. I wish I could tell my boyfriend that i’m not coping but he will blame himself, which is the last thing I want, I love him more than anything in the world and I know for a fact I don’t want to leave him to go back home but it’s strange I feel so alone and torn. I don’t know what to do anymore because I hate this place.

    • says

      Louise, thank you for your comment. I know EXACTLY how you feel! Your heart being in two places is a very difficult thing for people to understand. Hate and fighting your new city is a definite stage of early homesickness. It doesn’t make it easier on you now to tell you that it DOES get better over time, but it’s true. When my husband came to the States from Australia, the first year was very tumultuous. But another year under his belt and he is finally starting to adjust. What that means is the pangs for home and the anger and hating where you are become an occasional thing rather than a daily thing.

      The one thing I think you have going for you, other than your man, of course, is that you are in a busy town in England, and England has a LOT of expats. My advice to you is that you find an expat group either via the blog world (expatblog.com), MeetUp, or just an Internet search. I know you said you’re shy, but it’s a lot easier to overcome that shyness when you meet up with a group of people who are also feeling what you feel, who know what you are going through. You already have something in common.

      My husband was really have a difficult time until he got going in school and picked up an internship. Once he had somewhere to go, something to focus on, the emotions leveled out a lot. So try to re-focus your energy on connecting, working, volunteering or studying. And when you are feeling down, DO tell your boyfriend so he knows it’s not HIM, but that you are just feeling blue. Sometimes I could be just fine in Oz, then the next minute, I was crying, and for the people around me, it looked like it was for no apparent reason. When I told them sorry, just missing home, they understood and gave me space and support.

      I do hope this melancholy will pass soon for you, my dear. Please do come back and tell me how you are.

      Best~
      V

      • sarah says

        Homesicknes is a horrible feeling. I have been in oz for 3days now and am here for 6months I keep feeling up and down! Sometimes I am hapy fine and then ten mins late

        I have the sick feeling in my bely longing to go home! I’m so mad at myself as I want it to pas! And don’t no how long until it wil! I dnt no why I feel so down! I mean I wanted this so much. I was geting bored of my job and same rountine life. I am here with a friend and we can’t understand it! I realy wanted the time of my life! And have a good time! But if I could click my fingers I would go home! I’m just going to have to be storng and ride it. We start work tomoro hopefuly that should take my mind of it.

        • says

          Sarah, I know the feeling! I, too, chose to go to Oz seeking “adventure,” and am actually in Sydney at the moment on a three-week holiday. As I mentioned in the comment below, I did feel some of the old frustration and dread bubbling up while I’ve been here. But reminding myself that I CAN’T get a gigantic coffee for under $4 like back home, and that I can’t get everything I want while I’m here actually helps. The sooner you accept that is is different, and try to find the stuff you DO like, the better you are.

          Work should help. I bet once you get going, that six months will zip by!

          Now that I’ve come back to Sydney after being away for two years, I’ve loved:

          1. The gorgeous walk from Bronte Beach to Bondi Beach along the water.
          2. Great Aussie style and shopping in the city.
          3. Killer yogurt (Greek style, with berries or muesli) at the grocery store and all the fruit shops.
          4. Amazing $6 kebabs at Indian Home Diner in Sutherland.
          5. Enjoying walks by the water and mild winter days (hopefully the rain has stopped).
          6. Having fantastic public transportation available to me, unlike back home.

          Hopefully you will get the chance to discover some things you love before you go back home!

  20. says

    Hi my names Kristen and I’m 16 years old. I live in Texas and have never gone out of the state without my family. I guess you can say I’m attached to my parents. And in 2 days I leave to georgia for 2 weeks with my bestfriend. I’m already having anxiety and gettin nervous about leaving. I’ve never been so far away from home for so long by myself. I’m really scared I don’t know what tO do

    • says

      Hi Kristen~

      I’m actually responding to your comment while in Australia on a three-week holiday. I did feel some of the previous angst come up while I’ve been here, but as soon as I reminded myself that it’s temporary, and things are just different, I was in a much better place mentally.

      I know you’re nervous, but it will be fine! It’s an adventure! And just two weeks. Try to look at as an opportunity to learn and prove to yourself (and your family) that you are totally capable of handling yourself on your own. Plus, you’ll be with your bestie! Just have fun! You’ll be home soon enough. Georgia is lovely. Have been there many times. Hopefully you’ll be by a pool cause it’s HOT!

  21. Magnus says

    Hi V

    i have been looking through forums for a while and am sooo confused.

    I was born in germany and moved to south africa when i was 10 with my mother, who then shortly after passed away. But my step father raised me as his own. I never really saw my german family and I always wanted to return to my real home.

    Now, 26, after doing a couple of degrees at uni I finally came back to germany. got a good job, good pay, good extras, the possibilty to travel and some catching up with my german family.

    However, after being here for 9 months now – I cant any longer. I hate it. I really do. My job is not what I expected ande getting up everyday is hell of tough. If i am able to get up that is.
    Even though I am an outgoing and friendly person I have struggled to connect to people, but made a few good friends. I am constantly on the road, which is what I wanted but now really dispise it.

    My cintract ends in 3,5 months, which I decided I will not renew. But right now I feel as if I wont be able to even finish the next month.

    I have already started to look into jobs in SA, which I am sure I will find. I am just so confused whether to stay here longer and feel unhappy, sad and depressed. I did learn a lot about myself, but I really dont enjoy my day to day anymore and basically miss my old life.

    Then there is the case of a long term girlfriend as well, who wanted a break whilst I was here. Now we most prob wont get back together so that might have added to some frustration as well/ To have no support system.

    I just dont know if one should stay in a country where u are unhappy, dont enjoy the living conditions and dont ever want to settle.

    maybe u have some useful advise for me?

    Warm regards

    • says

      Magnus, thank you for your comment. I am sorry to read that your move isn’t everything you hoped it would be. Sometimes that happens! It happened to me!

      And yes, I have some advice for you: DO NOT stay anywhere that is soul-sucking, that does not make you happy! Life is too short! You know what? You tried it out, and that is more than most people ever do. So what if you don’t stay “forever.” Who says you have to? Changing your mind is your prerogative, and the only person that can ensure your happiness is YOU. Even if the relationship cannot be fixed, accept it as part of your lesson in this and move on. Go back to SA or wherever your heart takes you. At 26, you have the world at your feet, and with no kids or deep commitments, you have the blessings of freedom and choice. So do what makes you feel good. Although 3.5 months IS an eternity when you feel so homesick, stick it out knowing you are counting down the days until you are back where you want to be. If you have a support system in SA you can lean on, do it. The job will come because you will make it happen.

      Trust your instincts and feelings. Follow your heart. I was recently back in Australia after I left two years ago, and for the first week, I re-lived so many of those feelings of frustration and angst. But it also made me realize that I made the right decision going back to the U.S. With the help of family, I got back on my feet (and did even better) when I did return, despite having sacrificed so much.

      You can do it. Start hatching your plan. Tell your brain this is temporary. Do not feel one bit guilty about it not working out. The only way to have known is to try, and that you did.

      Please keep me posted and best of luck to you!

  22. says

    Hi V
    I moved out to spain on friday from scotland to be an au pair. I expected to have the summer of a lifetime but my children are horrible and I feel so homesick. I feel so low and sick and just want to go home. I cry all the time and cant stop it sometimes. I dont know if I should tell the parents how I feel and if i should go home or not as I am not enjoying it. Any advice would be great :-)

    • says

      Hi Sarah!

      My lovely, I feel your pain across the ocean, I do. If you really feel like it’s not for you, then you should tell the parents immediately. But since the move is so fresh, maybe you should give yourself some time to explore Spain and get to know the children better. Perhaps they are acting out a bit since they don’t know you yet. Then if after a month, if nothing is better and the children are wretched, go home! There is no reason to stay if you have the option to go back!

      Please let me know how things go, and I wish you much success and happier days.

  23. magnus says

    thanks for your kind words. The advice did help a lot, it gave me some motivation that I wanted or needed. I am pretty positive so far – so lets see how the time goes.

    I will report back in a couple of months – until then thanks os much :)

  24. mansour elhajj says

    Hi V. I just recently got back from a visit to my home country Lebanon. I live in the united states cali, i have for my whole life so far. I went to Lebanon 2 years ago after not being there for 9 years, so i was quite nervous on what everyone was like. I became attached, both mentally and physically. I made my decision that when i grow up, i am moving back with my parents to live there. Unfortunatlly i am only 15 and a sophmore in highschool. this means i have to wait 3 years for this to happen, i came back 3 days ago from my 3 trip and now, everyday, i begin to cry almost every 20 minutes. It has gotten to the point where even if i am not tearing…i am still sobbing… i dont know what to do, i am super bored here and i do not know what to do. I have no friend that will be there for me, and my brothers are both as much a wreck as i am. My parents begin work tomarrow, so being with them is not going to work either. I have had enough of having to be here, i am killing myself from the inside knowing my life could be better living there. My dad wants to take us again next year…but that means i will have to go through school and all my stress…Please give me something…anyhting… because honestly…there is nothing to get me out of this state right now…and i feel horribly ill :’(

    • says

      Hello M.E….

      I’m sure longing to be somewhere else and not having control over that is very frustrating, and you are probably emotional since you are just back from a recent trip. The tears will subside as you get back to everyday life in CA. Instead of thinking about how long it will be until you are back in Lebanon, why not channel your energy into activities that foster your love of the country? Especially since you are out of school for the summer, don’t waste your precious downtime being sad…it will be school time again before you know it!

      Why not start a blog about Lebanon and your memories there? Cultural discoveries? Art? The food? Or maybe while you’re at home you can learn to cook authentic meals from there…try a new recipe or so every few days? Or maybe you can research study abroad programs that will allow you to get there faster? Sometimes, even in high school, those programs exist, and even if they don’t, maybe you can start looking at college programs that will give you a great reason to move immediately upon graduation. If you can get a work permit, why not get a part-time job for the summer and start saving up for your next trip there?

      There are lots of ways to use your time wisely, and work toward the goal you have of moving there. Once you are 18, the choice is yours…but you have to be able to support yourself or have help. So instead of being depressed that you’re not there, start hatching a plan for your future life there!

      Good luck, my dear!

      • mansour elhajj says

        V thank you so much. I will start getting a job and all, also i have taken your advice in the college thing, ad i have a great oppurtunity at a college. And the job i want to do is a great pay. V, i cannot thank you enough! I now talk to my cousins everyday and have things that keep me going. Thank you so much. You really did pull me out of my depressed state, i want you to know that!

    • Jad soueidi says

      Hey mate ., I’m Lebanese too I live in Abu dhabi ( shit whole )
      I’m 25 years old ., u still young don’t mess up the school
      And college Take it easy bro ., with all my respect to ur love for lebanon
      , u don’t know a shit about living in Lebanon ., it s brutal bro
      It might be one of the best places in the world but ONLY FOR VACATIONS
      Now the next visit try to stay a bit longer than usual ., this might help
      U to get involved into the everyday life Concerns . Wish u all the best and again
      TAKE IT EASY U STILL YOUNG U HAVE PLENTY OF TIME ., it is a big decision ( especially moving from the states to Lebanon ., watch the news every now and then ) I don’t mean to be pessimistic . But what I I’ve mentioned is very important do u to know
      And don’t let anyone tells u that it is a good or bad decision .. Do ur researches NO ONE KNOWS U BETTER THAN U DO ! Good luck .. I’m doing my best to leave the uae to Sweden or London whatever comes first .. Wish me luck I desperately need it

  25. Katherine says

    Hi,

    Thank you for the blog , it’s really helpful! I have been planning to live in Madrid for a year starting in September to go to language school and I am a bit anxious about homesickness as I am from a very close-knit family in Ireland. I really want to go and have a wonderful experience of Spanish life but if I am already a bit worried about becoming homesick does that mean I should think twice about going?

    Katherine

    • says

      Hi Katherine, thanks for your comment. It’s normal to feel anxiety, even when you’re excited about a move! I wouldn’t opt out because you’re worried about homesickness…you could be missing the opportunity of a lifetime!

      Instead, I’d arm myself with a plan in case you feel blue after you go. In fact, I just posted some tips for managing homesickness that may help you as you plan for your Spanish immersion. Check out 10 Tips for Managing Homesickness at http://www.gritandglamour.com/2012/07/24/10-tips-for-managing-homesickness/.

      Good luck! Don’t be afraid. Consider yourself blessed to have the opportunity and be able to go back home after!

      Keep me posted.

  26. J says

    Hi,

    Thank you so much for this blog, and I also appreciate all of the comments from you and from others. It is just so comforting to hear that other people, other women especially, have had and are having the same struggles with homesickness that I’m having… so few people have experienced this and even fewer are willing to talk about it, which has made me feel very alone in my feelings and as if there’s something wrong with me for having them.

    I’ve been living in a Caribbean country for almost a year now. I moved down here for work. I guess I just greatly underestimated how long a year could be. There are so many challenges here that I’m just not used to, I’m from the U.S. and this country is much less developed, and so many issues arise that I just wasn’t even planning on having to deal with. Aside from that, it can feel so very lonely to be in a different culture. I have many friendly acquaintances, but I find it so difficult to make true friends because I just feel like I cannot relate to most people here on a deep level. Also, this is not a big expat country, so other foreigners are few and far between… I have found them here and there, and have enjoyed being with them, but the few that I have met and gotten along with have left as their projects in this country finished.

    While going home or having visitors here is very nice, it almost makes it more difficult — to see what I’m missing, and it’s oh so hard to come back here after a visit home. Well, that said, my project will be finishing and I’m going home in 3 weeks. This has been one heck of a year for me, with so many ups and downs (probably more downs if I’m being honest)… I just find myself worrying that going home and being home won’t be the same, like I’ll forever be stuck with this disjointed/I don’t belong feeling… did you have that same fear at all when you returned to the U.S. from Australia?

    Reading this blog has been very helpful for me — just showing me that I’m not a total weirdo for feeling the way I’m feeling — I find so many people just don’t get how I could feel so bad, but it’s nice to have these feelings normalized by knowing that I’m not the only one.

    Thank you again.

    Best,

    J

    • says

      Hi, J. Sorry for the delayed response. I usually try to respond as soon as I can to comments on this post, because people are really looking for help and a friend. You are so not alone in what you have felt being an expat!

      I know taking a step down in terms of technology and efficiency is harder than taking a step up. I wanted to bang my head against the wall so many times in Sydney…it is a fairly modern country, but way behind the U.S. on many levels, and also twice the price of where I come from. It was culture shock and sticker shock, so I understand how hard it must have been for you in the Caribbean.

      That said, I think by now you are home (yay!) and you have closed the book on your Caribbean adventure. I identify with many of the points you made in your comment, and yes, I did feel like I didn’t belong in either place for a while. Cause you know what? YOU are different as a result of this experience, so you kind of don’t see things the same way as you used to. And you may feel like you’re missing out on things there when you’re in the U.S. But after a month or two, you settle right back in and you feel happy and complete. Unless you’re leaving a lover behind, eventually you move on and acclimate, and then sometimes it feels like it was all just a dream!

      Expat life, even when it sucks, is a great experience. It teaches you to rely on yourself, and to appreciate all the things and people back home you may have taken for granted.

      I hope you are home and well. Let me know!

      • J says

        Thanks so much for your response! I actually have one week left here… counting down the days, as you can see! I really appreciate your response, though — and will be home in no time!

  27. Clare says

    So happy I found this forum. I am 25 aussie and living with my Dutch boyfriend in holland. I originally came to holland for my sport but have since met my BF. I love him but I miss home like crazy! He is in the Dutch army and has a contract until 2017. We had a big discussion last night. He basically said that he couldnt see himself moving to Australia. I said that I couldnt see myself living in holland for the rest of my life. So now there is a stalemate…. I feel very lonely here because my Dutch is not great. I have a very close family that I miss. Help!!!

    • says

      Hi Clare, I feel for you. That is a tough call. When I was in Australia, I felt the same way. Missed home, loved the guy, but ultimately knew Oz was not for me. Unfortunately, international relationships requires that someone make a sacrifice, or that both of you do.

      25 is pretty young—around that age I met my first husband, and even though I thought it would last, ten years later we parted ways. What I am saying is that you have the world ahead of you, and at your age, I did the same thing: put my love of the guy before ME. Don’t do that. If you want to make it work because it is EVERYTHING, then do. But sometimes time apart is the only way to know that you can’t live without each other. If things aren’t AMAZING in Holland, then it’s not really worth the sacrifice you are making, is it?

  28. Dyani says

    Just about two days ago I moved to Germany from America. I am a foreign exchange student and will be here for 11 months. Currently I am dealing with the worst home sickness I have ever felt especially this is my first time out of the country and my first time away from my family for this long. I cant seem to enjoy anything out here and I am to be honest living in paradise. I met other teenagers my age today and asked them if they were homesick they are foreign exchange students just like me and came on the same exact day and they said no! I was shocked it made me feel like such a baby that I am crying so much.
    I barely want to eat anything, I am not even thirsty and any little thing reminds me of home. My parents have given me the option that if this does not get better I can go home before my eleven months are up. I just feel horrible wasting such an opportunity because I want to go home but then again is it worth sacrificing my happiness? and if I do go home I dont want to regret it! help please and thank you?

    • says

      Dyani~

      I’m so sorry you feel so sad and miss home so much. Your feelings…the tears, the longing, the wanting to flee…they are completely natural! Others may not be missing home yet, because it’s early days, and I’ve found the 30-day and 3-month marks to be challenging. It doesn’t matter how anyone else feels, though. Your feelings are legitimate and completely normal.

      I will tell you that things do get better. You acclimate, and in your situation, you will probably even make some lifelong friendships. Right now, if you need to cry, cry! When classes start, your mind will be re-focused and that is very good for homesickness.

      I’m not sure if you read all of this post, or all the comments, but I encourage you to. My advice to you is the same as everyone else: only YOU can determine if you are too unhappy to go on. I think you will be fine after you get into school and start making friends. This is a MAJOR opportunity that so many would love to have. Try to think of it that way…a chapter in your life, a chance to become fluent in German and hop around Europe! There are so many countries in close proximity, and a year gives you a long time to try to explore as many as you can. I wish I had done what you are doing at your age, I really do. Try to keep your eye on the prize.

      I don’t know if you ever saw The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood or not. There’s a scene where Sandra Bullock’s character (played by a little girl) has the chance to take a joy ride in an open-air propeller plane. Her siblings/friends go and they have a ball. But she is TERRIFIED and doesn’t want to. She refuses. Then, later, she feels left out and her mom arranges for her to go up and she has fun. The lesson? Sometimes things are scary but turn out to be great if we get over our fears long enough to try.

      I actually used this lesson in my own life. When I turned 30, I was gifted with a surprise skydiving gift certificate. I was terrified too…it’s the last thing I ever wanted to do. I was all ready to put my foot down and refuse to go. But I had recently seen The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and the scene I described above resonated so much with me, I thought, I am NOT going to be that girl left behind, left out, then crying after because I missed out. So I took the skydive, and you know what? It was AMAZING! One of the most exhilarating, incredible things I’ve ever done.

      So I leave you with that thought. If you go home this early, will you regret it? Probably. Home will always be there. Give it some time, at least 30 days, and if you can’t find at least a handful of reasons to stay, then go. No one should be miserable. You have one life to live. But I think you’re going to be just fine, sweetie.

      Please let me know how you fare. :)

  29. Tamika says

    Hi,
    It’s good to know that others feel homesick like I do. I have been 1,000 miles away from home for 15 years! The moment I started to think about moving closer to home, I met my boyfriend 2 years ago. I had to think about either moving home or dating him. I decided to date him and he is incredible! We have even talked about getting married! Unfortunately, he can not move out of the state for 11 years! He has a young son that he wants to stay close to until he graduates high school. I’m not actually sure if I’m going to be happy staying here that long! I just started feeling homesick a couple of years ago. I only feel that way when I say goodbye to my family at the airport or think about my situation. A few people have told me that I have a new life and they don’t understand why I am still so close to my parents. I question if I should hurt my boyfriend and myself by breaking up or by feeling guilty for not living close to my family. If anyone has any advice I would appreciate it! Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Tamika~

      Choosing between someone you love and a lot of other people you love is NOT easy. I’ve felt the very same thing. In my case, my love came back home with me. Unfortunately, in your situation, with your boyfriend’s commitment to his son, that’s not an option. I admire his commitment to his son, and I’m sure you do too.

      You need to think really hard about whether you see yourself becoming a stepmother, and being committed to staying in his state for a least 11 years. That’s a long time, but if he is the love of your life and amazing, and you CAN’T BREATHE WITHOUT HIM, well, there is your answer. But if he’s great, but not necessarily your everything, and you might want to follow your career elsewhere, or have the freedom to go wherever, it may be less painful to part ways now rather than even further into the relationship.

      One thing I always ask my husband when he talks about going home is this: after you get back “home,” then what? Because after reuniting with your family and friends and going to those places you love, there is…everyday life. Can you make a living? Can you get a job? Is there a real future for you there?

      Also consider why you left “home” in the first place. Were you bored? Needed to explore? Needed to “find” yourself? If you’ve accomplished all you wanted and going back home will still be exciting and fruitful for you, then maybe it’s the right decision. Ultimately, as you know, only you can decide what truly makes your heart happy.

      I do wish you luck and hope that you find peace, no matter what decision you make.

  30. Tamika says

    Hi,
    Thank you so much for your response! That was encouraging! I actually left home at 18 to go into the military (I am out now); I have a great relationship with my family so I wasn’t leaving to get away from them. I always thought I would go back when I was done and so did my parents.

    And you are right, there is really nothing much there for me except for family. The hardest part is knowing how sad my parents seem without me. I guess I feel like it’s my responsibility to make them happy. But I do feel like I will not be happy without my boyfriend in my life and that is why I stayed. We want to get married in the next year or two but I know that will be the nail in the coffin, especially for my parents who are probably hoping I will come back. I am afraid of how they will deal with that reality.

    I can make it for 11 years as long as I learn how to get my homesickness under control. And I also have no problem being a stepmother! Hopefully I can meet more friends and find more things to do to keep my mind off of home. I know that all of these feelings are stopping me from loving him the way he should be because I always question if I should break up. But honestly, I can’t bring myself to it so I know he is right for me. I was single for a very long time and meeting a guy that is everything I was looking for is not easy to let go off. Fortunately, my boyfriend would like to move as well so if I can hang in there for another decade, that would be great! I appreciate your feedback and if you have anymore, I welcome it. I hope everyone else will be able to have peace in their decisions as well.
    Tamika

  31. Bri says

    I have been feeling very homesick lately. I just moved to China from the US for a semester abroad (ive been here about a month). What is hard for me to handle is the fact that I have traveled/lived abroad before and never felt this kind of physical pain. I think one of the main differences is that now I have a serious boyfriend back at home. I have also never lived by myself before, I have always shared an apartment with friends. Here I am living in my own apartment and honestly, it sucks. I miss my boyfriend so much, but I dont want to bog him down by always calling him and being such a bummer. I just want this semester to be over, which is awful, because I generally love this type of adventure. I feel so down and I hate everything. :(. I wish I could find my happy, optimistic self somewhere down there.

    • says

      Bri~

      Sorry to hear you feel so homesick…it’s not an easy thing to cope with, and it makes even a few months feel unbearable. Although it feels just awful right now, I will give you the same advice I’ve given several others in the same situation…this is similar to comment I posted to Dyani above, but it applies to you as well:

      …things do get better. You acclimate, and in your situation, you will probably even make some lifelong friendships. Right now, if you need to cry, cry! When classes start, your mind will be re-focused and that is very good for homesickness.

      I’m not sure if you read all of this post, or all the comments, but I encourage you to. My advice to you is the same as everyone else: only YOU can determine if you are too unhappy to go on. I think you will be fine after you get into school and start making friends. This is a MAJOR opportunity that so many would love to have. Try to think of it that way—a chapter in your life, a chance to become fluent in Chinese! Try to keep your eye on the prize.

      I don’t know if you ever saw The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood or not. There’s a scene where Sandra Bullock’s character (played by a little girl) has the chance to take a joy ride in an open-air propeller plane. Her siblings/friends go and they have a ball. But she is TERRIFIED and doesn’t want to. She refuses. Then, later, she feels left out and her mom arranges for her to go up and she has fun. The lesson? Sometimes things are scary but turn out to be great if we get over our fears long enough to try.

      I actually used this lesson in my own life. When I turned 30, I was gifted with a surprise skydiving gift certificate. I was terrified too…it’s the last thing I ever wanted to do. I was all ready to put my foot down and refuse to go. But I had recently seen The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and the scene I described above resonated so much with me, I thought, I am NOT going to be that girl left behind, left out, then crying after because I missed out. So I took the skydive, and you know what? It was AMAZING! One of the most exhilarating, incredible things I’ve ever done.

      So I leave you with that thought. If you go home this early, will you regret it? Probably. Home will always be there. Give it some time, at least 30 days, and if you can’t find at least a handful of reasons to stay, then go. No one should be miserable. You have one life to live. But I think you’re going to be just fine.

  32. Beth says

    I’m in a little bit of a different situation, but I know the feelings of homesickness all too well. I’m 18 and just finished my first year of college. I’m from New England and I now go to a university in Colorado. I always pictured myself going to a school in the northeast, but I decided I wanted to try something new and branch out. I’ve always been really independent and have always wanted to travel the world, so I came to Colorado. But saying goodbye to my mom was so incredibly hard … I felt like I could barely breathe when she left. That was a month ago, and I am doing better – I’ve gotten involved in lots of activities and my classes are really demanding so that requires a lot of attention. But what I’m wondering is if this feeling will ever go away … despite how busy I am, there are still so many times when I just want to be with my family! I really want to love college, but I’m wondering if my homesickness will make that impossible to do …

    The other thing is that I don’t think it would be any easier at a college that was in New England – both of my sisters go to school there, and they only come home on the holidays (which is what I’m doing as well). So I’m just wondering if anyone could tell me from experience that the homesickness does eventually abide – my college has so many opportunities for me to grow and explore, and I really want to take advantage of that and not let my homesickness ruin it for me.

      • says

        Hi Beth!

        So sorry to hear you are missing home…but you’re right. I don’t think you’d miss home—or your mom—any less even if you were at a college in New England. That said, homesickness DOES get better. But it takes time. My husband has been in the U.S. with me for two years and he STILL has days of homesickness. Eventually, though, those days become fewer and further between.

        You noted your college has lots of opportunities for you to grow and explore—sign up for all of them! The best way to beat the homesickness when it is at its strongest (the beginning) is to literally fill up your days and evenings with lots of distractions. The worst thing is to listen to sad music and stay in your room and feel bad. Even though you may not feel social, try to force yourself to join a group, volunteer, or something to get you connecting with others and your mind focused on the tasks at hand…not home.

        The deeper into the semester you get, the more homework you have, the more people you meet, the better you will be. I promise. It sounds like you have a very level head on your shoulders, and I know you can make it through.

        I will give you the same advice I’ve given several others in the same situation…this is similar to comment I posted to Dyani above, but it applies to you as well:

        …things do get better. You acclimate, and in your situation, you will probably even make some lifelong friendships. Right now, if you need to cry, cry!

        I don’t know if you ever saw The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood or not. There’s a scene where Sandra Bullock’s character (played by a little girl) has the chance to take a joy ride in an open-air propeller plane. Her siblings/friends go and they have a ball. But she is TERRIFIED and doesn’t want to. She refuses. Then, later, she feels left out and her mom arranges for her to go up and she has fun. The lesson? Sometimes things are scary but turn out to be great if we get over our fears long enough to try.

        I actually used this lesson in my own life. When I turned 30, I was gifted with a surprise skydiving gift certificate. I was terrified too…it’s the last thing I ever wanted to do. I was all ready to put my foot down and refuse to go. But I had recently seen The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and the scene I described above resonated so much with me, I thought, I am NOT going to be that girl left behind, left out, then crying after because I missed out. So I took the skydive, and you know what? It was AMAZING! One of the most exhilarating, incredible things I’ve ever done.

        So I leave you with that thought. If you go home this early, will you regret it? Probably. Home will always be there. Give it some time, at least 30 days, and if you can’t find at least a handful of reasons to stay, then go. No one should be miserable. You have one life to live. But I think you’re going to be just fine.

  33. Brooke says

    Hello! Thank you for creating this blog. I am currently a high school junior studying abroad in Argentina! Aside from struggling with major language barriers, I have realized just how hard it really is to be away from home and my mom. I have been over in Argentina for about 2 months and believe that what I am experiencing right now is terrible homesickness. During school, at home, during activities… all I can think is “All I want to do is crawl under my covers and cry”. It’s very difficult for me because my host sister here doesn’t understand where I am coming from at all. Also, I feel that I have been holding all my emotions in because I feel bad crying or appearing upset to my host parents because they try so hard to make me feel at home and what not. I have honestly been feeling homesick since the second day I arrived. I figured I would get over it, but its still so bad and I don’t really have anyone to talk to about it in Argentina. It has been so bad for the past week that I am seriously considering going back to the united states because I don’t want to feel this way until Christmas.
    Any feedback you have for me would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks!

    • Brooke says

      To add one more important piece of information, I had an anxiety disorder called tricotillomania when my parents were going through a rough divorce. (Basically I was subconsciously pulling out my hair and giving myself small bald spots about the size of a penny) Now that I am here in another country this anxiety has returned but even worse. I have recently noticed I have given myself about 2 little patches of baldness. Feeling this way is terrible for me. I have always considered myself an extremely strong, independent and outgoing person. However, 2 months into my 4.5 months and I am so sad and irritable I feel as if I want to return home. I’m wondering if I did the wrong thing by holding my emotions in for the past 2 months and have in turn made them much worse and more severe. In some of the articles I read that you had attached, the possibility of depression as an outcome was mentioned. I am fearful that this could be developing for me.

      • says

        Brooke~

        I strongly urge you to seek out a counselor at school to talk to. I think it will help, and you certainly don’t need to be depressed or stay in a situation that is bad for your health. If you can’t get more involved in school life and culture there…and it’s making you sick…you should do what’s right for you. Knowing that you are halfway through doesn’t help? In your case, this is NOT a permanent move, so maybe if you talk to a counselor at school, it could help and you can make the most of the rest of your time there. It’s a temporary situation!

        Maybe if you focus on that and try to get whatever you can out of it, you will feel better. Skype and talk to your family at home. Focus on your homework and responsibilities, and keep reminding yourself you’re out of there in like 10 weeks! That’s all it is! WEEKS, not months or years.

        I

    • says

      Hi Brooke, so sorry you’re feeling the blackness and despair of homesickness right now. You’re right…that’s what it is.

      I encourage you to scroll through the comments above (or even just the last one right above yours) and read my responses too—many others have felt the same things, and are in the same situation. It usually does get better, but I think you should definitely try to keep yourself busy with more than just class. If there are groups you can join, do. The best way to beat homesickness is to load up your schedule with lots of distractions.

      And hey, ARGENTINA?! Go explore! Start a blog about your semester in Argentina! Take a photo a day of your time there and load them up with your shots and stories. Pour your heart out in it! That’s what I did when I was overseas and it really helped. And you may very well help some others, too.

      Have one good last cry, then every day decide you’re going to do one thing outside your comfort zone…order a coffee in the native language. Smile at a stranger. Ask your host sister to show you a new place or museum. Explore all the different churches. Try something you’ve never eaten before. Ask your host sister or parents to show you how to cook a typical Argentinian meal. Look at it as an opportunity to soak up as much of the language and culture as you can before you gohome, which will come much sooner than you think.

      Keep me posted…I do hope things look up, my dear. I think you’ll be fine!

  34. McMonkey says

    Your blog is really helpful and I keep on coming back to it when the homesick blues re-visit. I wish there were some other blog out there that really applied to me, though. I am 40 moved over to USA from the U.K to marry my American husband (oh, and I have also been recovering from a head injury). I guess, it would be a tall order to find that blog, but even one that deals with marriage and immigration would help. Man o man, it’s tough. Being newly married for the first time and relocating and recovering from an injury makes me think I was crazy to believe everything would be okay. Crazzzzzy.

    I am awaiting AOS, which means at this moment in time I cannot work or drive – try living in America without a car (apart from New York). I am practically housebound and jobless. I was also a mature student in the U.K and I can’t start school until I have been here for a year, although that’s not so far away now.

    I miss the independence I had in the U.K — walking everywhere, and going where I pleased without having to wait for someone to drive me around.

    I also miss some aspects of my single life, too. It’s been such a tough 8 months and not how I envisaged being a newly married person. I resent living here at times, feel crabby with my husband, tearful, depressed and even trapped at times.

    I will be glad when I can work and get around to see if that changes the intensity of how I feel at times.

    Culture is such a HUGE part of our identity and the everyday things seem so important when you are creating a brand new life.

    8 months of feeling like this!

    • says

      Hello McMonkey~

      I am so, so sorry to read how badly you are feeling and I’m glad you are venting here, even if it doesn’t change much for you. :) It does help to get it out, though. My heart is just aching for you because I went through virtually the same things and emotions. I, too, moved overseas with a troubling health issue in play, got married very soon after, could not work or go to school, did not have a car, left a very cush corporate job at the company I worked for for 10 years, felt a major loss of independence, gave away my beloved Doberman (who I’d raised from a pup), sold the car I loved (my first BMW), and then felt the same cancer-like blackness in my new country, and hated myself for not being able to snap myself out of it. As you noted, it’s not the way to start a new life and marriage; my homesickness caused my husband and I such strife. So I really, really do understand what you are feeling, and it sucks.

      BUT, I want to commend you for sticking it out for eight months. I did not fare so well…your resolve and sacrifices should be acknowledged here. Those who’ve never had the courage to do what you did will NEVER understand how incredibly difficult it is. It is gut-wrenching and soul-sucking…but it does get better. I say that because my Hubby just passed his two-year mark as an Aussie expat now in the U.S., and the first year was so tough, but things are 100% better now.

      One of this reasons I found Australia so difficult—NSW specifically—wasn’t so much the culture, but the rules and laws. It is significantly less free than my hometown U.S. state. As we all know, having freedoms or luxuries and then having them taken away is more difficult than never having them at all…yeah, that BMW I worked so hard for in the U.S.? Forget it in Oz. It’s literally twice the price. TWICE. Same car. Sheesh.

      I still find Australia, beautiful as it is, a bit lacking in technological advances, freedoms, and more. (Uh, two-year phone and Internet contracts, and you pay in full if you terminate early? Seriously? Who is anywhere with the same device for TWO YEARS?!) Being that you are from the U.K., I know there are similarities since Australia is under the queen. I can only hope that in your U.S. state, you are at least afforded more freedoms and find the cost of living less than you did back home. I think the reason why my husband has made it here is because he GAINED a LOT of freedoms moving here, things he could never do or afford to have in NSW. Gaining and not losing in terms of life progress and opportunities makes a big difference. He now understands that my whingeing about air con (lack thereof) and clothes dryers (vs. hanging clothes on the line) wasn’t me being a spoiled American girl. It’s just everyday life here…middle-class stuff and normal. We all have air central con and heat in the south, and outdoor clothes lines are actually NOT allowed in most neighborhoods!

      Anyway, again, I want you to know your feelings are valid, legitimate, and a normal part of this transition. If you can just hold out til you get working, it will make all the difference in the world. This is one reason why when my husband was deciding to pursue residency here, we went the long route, which meant being apart for eight months. No joke. Wasn’t easy, but it meant that the moment he hit the ground, his green card would arrive in a few weeks, and he could go to school or work as soon as he wanted. The four months he was here before enrolling in school were the hardest. Like you, with nothing to look forward to daily, you only look backward on what you’re left behind. Since then, he’s continued school, gotten his U.S. driver’s license, gotten a job…and he’s in a happy place now. So it will come. Just get that paperwork done and keep telling yourself this is TEMPORARY! It’s a phase that will NOT last forever.

      The only thing that kept me halfway sane in Oz was working out. I don’t know if you do, or if you can with your injury, but if or when you can, I’d strongly recommend it. Whether you join a gym, or do routines at home from the Internet, exercise is a major stress reliever, and it gives you something to look forward to. Challenge yourself with that or something else that’s constructive. Volunteer if you have a way to get there. Resolve to cook one new recipe every. Single. Day. Start your own blog! Do a 365 photo journal…one photo a day for the next year and post it online or through Instagram. Use Meet Up to find other expats in your area. Take an online course. Do ANYTHING you can to stay busy until you have the clearance to work. The Internet is actually your salvation. Use it to make new friends, network, be enlightened, find support or inspiration. There are others going through exactly what you are. Maybe you can actually be a help to them by connecting with them or sharing your story.

      I know that all you probably feel like doing is crying and staying home, but it’s actually the worst thing you can do for homesickness. Your tenacity is still being called upon, my dear. The easy part is packing and moving! This is your challenge, and you can do it. You’ve made it eight months (WOOOO HOOOO!) and you can get through this. It does get better, it really does.

      Please come back and let me know how you are. Or find me on Twitter or Instagram and let me know it’s you. I’d love to converse with you regularly, if you’d like.

      My best to you. Hang in there. Sending you love and light. Enjoy these gorgeous autumn days! And hey, it’s pumpkin season in the U.S. Carve one, use one for a special recipe!

      :)

  35. McMonkey says

    I have to say this: I hate it here! I hate the loss of my independence and the familiar and the routine. I hate the ugly grey big roads everywhere and the lack of quaintness and uniqueness–strip malls are like death. I miss walking places. I miss my old life and my beautiful cat who I could not bring with me. I miss my friends and I miss not getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. I hate it here, because it’s not like a life I would have choose if I had known that it would feel this way. I hate that I have felt so miserable for pretty much 8 months and wonder if I will ever be happy again? I hate that I have days where I cannot do anything apart from cry and feel so terribly sad. I hate it here, because I do not feel strong and resilient. I hate it here, because people stare at me like a circus clown when they hear my accent. I hate it here, because nothing is the same. And, I hate that I miss home as much as I do, which will never feel the same again, because I got up and left everything for a life here. I hate it here, because feeling like this hurts other people and not just me. I hate it here!

    • says

      This is good. I know this feeling. I love this comment! Let it all out, my friend, it’s OK.

      And know you WILL be happy again. And YOU ARE STRONG AND RESILIENT, because you’re still here! No, it’s not the same…my hubby loathes the strip malls too. BUT there is life beyond them, and beauty in every city of every state, and you will find it in time, I know you will.

      And take heart in the accent department. The one GREAT thing you have going for you is that unlike Australia and the U.K. who hate Americans, Americans LOVE Aussies and Brits, and accents even more! They may be looking at you funny…it’s just because it takes our ears time to tune in. Hubby gets the same thing. But after a couple sentences, people are fascinated. Work it to your advantage. It is an icebreaker, a calling card, and something with a lot of caché in the U.S.!

      • Angela says

        Well … I lived in the US (I am from the UK) for 16 years as I married an American. Came back eventually to London as I missed England, the UK in General and easy access to Europe (and Europeans, Australians and those from the UK travel far more than our US cousins) and have not regretted it since. But I don’t think people in the UK dislike other accents or Americans in particular but if the tendency is to say “my country is so much better than yours” (or words like that), then that will create animosity because a lot of countries think theirs is the best. I can say that as an Englishwoman living in various US states I have been accused of causing the Irish Potato Famine. I’m old, but not that old!

  36. McMonkey says

    Some days all that stuff feels like some terrible black cancer eating me alive and I wonder what the hell am I doing about it? I have tired all the usual’s and I seem to end up in the same place. Ugh!

    • says

      There’s your answer: “I have tired all the usual’s and I seem to end up in the same place.”

      Try something different! One thing I didn’t divulge above: right before my move and marriage, I was going through a DIVORCE. During the months leading up to my separation from my first husband, I got into yoga and weight training, and even went through yoga teacher training, which was terrifying because I have terrible stage fright. I just kept thinking, “I’m soooooo far out of my comfort zone right now, why the hell not?!” It gave me the courage to leave a marriage that had long been dead, to throw caution to the wind and try an overseas move. Even though I ended up back in the U.S., moving actually taught me, ironically, that I could be alone and be fine. That I could try something and make it through, one way or the other.

      Moral of the story: YOU, too, are THAT FAR OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE that you have nothing to lose by trying new things all the time. No one knows you. This is a chance to create the life and person you want to be. BUT, you have to do different things to ensure different outcomes!

  37. McMonkey says

    Gritandglamour, wow! Your story and your comparisons have helped sooooooo much. THANK YOU!!!

    I really do appreciate all your words. I really do!

    The gym thang has also been a challenge due to the old noggin’ issues. Before my accident in the U.K I ran around 50 miles a week, swam and trained in the gym. Since the injury I have sporadically tried to exercise, but the exertion was too much for a head that was repairing itself. It was a real bind not being able to pour my energy into something I absolutely love to do and something that I know helps balance an unbalanced mind. I am no quitter, though.

    I have kept at it for the 8 months I have been here, even tried Zumba, which nearly caused a brain seizure, ha, ha. The bilateral actions of zumba — left hand goes here , while right hip goes there, were so freakingly amazingly foreign feeling, which was a total shock, as I have always had great spatial awareness and rhythm, but my brain was having none of it. Not being a quitter I continued the hour long class resembling something like a jellyfish having a seizure, and just made my own moves up when I really couldn’t get it. I even challenged the instructor with a “bring it” comment when she asked if we would like some harder moves! Seriously! I’m sure she thought it was hysterical that the most rhythmically challenged in the class was asking for more. After that class my speech went, linear thinking went, and walking in a straight line for a little while. My neurologist told me that due to my accident my brain actually had the equivalent of a heart attack, and so there is a lot of rewiring going on and it’s amazing how much energy that takes!

    I have not been back to Zumba! :-)

    The good news is that I am up to 4 x in one week now and pretty much working out like I used too. I cool it off when I feel my head asking for a break, and I amp it up when I can feel the body is okay with it. I am even using an old ring-a-ding alarm clock set for 10.30am to remind me that going to the gym is really important for me and that I must do it and not sit around mopping in the house. The hardest part of being effectively housebound is that even though you come to despise it, it also zaps your motivation and actually makes it harder to get your ass off the sofa and out of the house – I am sure you totally understand that.

    So I am hoping that as of this week I will complete 5 days of the gym ( have the weekends off) and maybe even do some running? I ran 4 miles last week and really only concentrated on having a comfortable run, no time pressure, and I ran it in just over 10 minutes a mile, which wasn’t as awful as I though it might be. The hardest part will be maintaining that as I amp it up. I am gonna focus on core stuff and cardio for a while to get my body into better shape. Over the 2 years of healing I have gained about 30 pounds so I really want to get that off too.

    My poor husband sobbed in bed last night, because he feels so helpless when I am suffering. Hearing a man cry and that man being your husband made me feel so incredibly bad for putting him through my ups and downs, but I know it’s just a transition the same as adapting to here is. I am in St.Louis by the way!

    I have way more to say, especially about some of the things you pointed out that have been so helpful, but I need that gym fix, so I will go sweat it and come back here later.

    :-)

    • says

      Oh, so glad to hear from you and especially to know my responses helped, even if only for one minute of your day! Hope your gym time was super. I’m really happy to know you have that, and setting a ringing alarm to go is an excellent idea. Treat it like an appointment. Good thinking.

      I admire your spirit, and commend you for trying to get back the physicality you had prior to your injury. I know it’s frustrating to be on the bench…as active as you were and I am, it would drive me crazy to not able to do what I love doing. But you know, you’re on your way, making strides every day. This is a lesson for you—maybe it’s just to stop and take stock and be grateful for your health and mobility. I know you’re probably looking up at the heavens, thinking, “I get that I need to take stock, but do I have to do it ALL right NOW?!” It’s only because you can handle it. Any woman that can run 50 miles a week, swim, train, AND have a life is a woman with a LOT of discipline. You got this. Watch. You’ll see.

      I can tell you’re a fighter, so I know that in 2 months, 6 months, 12 months, you’re going to be a significantly better situation, emotionally, mentally, and physically. And your hubby will make it through. My husband tried so hard to keep me happy when I was overseas, and I’ve had the same challenges with him here. Ultimately, no one can make you happy but YOU. I know you know that.

      So, again keep reminding yourself this is temporary. Right now you are in the frustration stage of homesickness, when you hate everything and are grieving the loss of “normal” in your life. Just do what you can to keep your mind occupied and eventually there will be a day when you realize you’re happy, even if it’s only for a couple hours. Those days and times will eventually come closer together and then one day, you’ll go a whole day and realize you didn’t miss “home” that day or feel bad at all. It really just takes time.

      Looking forward to whatever else you’d like to share with me. ;)

  38. Vera says

    Hi,

    I am 17 years old and currently studying abroad for 6 months in San Francisco. I’ve been here for almost two months and I’m really having a hard time now. I got really homesick when I first came here and after about a week, I started to feel better and after two weeks everything was great. But since a week, I’ve been feeling homesick again. It was my little brother’s birthday this Sunday and he turned 4, which I guess made everything even worse. He started school on Monday and I feel very upset that I can’t be home while all these important things are happening.
    But my dad is coming here in two weeks for a few days and I’m going to travel with my sister when she comes here in six weeks. Then my dad will come again in February for a few days.

    I really don’t know why I’ve been feeling so homesick because I have so many things to look forward to and I have met a lot of new people here and after school, I’m always out doing things and exploring the city. But the moment I get back home (I live in a residence with many other students from my school), I miss home again and I’m tired of having to go out all the time to not get homesick.
    I can be so happy and excited about being here and then the next moment, I just feel like crying and calling my mom to say how difficult it is to be here without everyone that I love.

    Scrolling through all the comments above, I feel so weird that I feel homesick so bad because I have enough distraction and I have a routine and I always have people to hang out with. I feel like I’m not supposed to be homesick and I’m just being a baby, especially because nobody says that they’re homesick and they’re just loving everything here.

    • says

      Hi Vera! Thanks for your comment. Hate that you are missing home! You know if you read all the comments about that it is totally normal for you to be feeling homesickness, even if you are distracted and have plenty of company. My first weeks in Australia, I was never alone, but felt like I was the only American in the whole country! It may not feel good, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and you are not being a baby.

      I hope you will re-read a few of the more recent comments above…there have been several exchange students who are going through the very same thing as you are. Just remember that it is TEMPORARY! And then you DO get to go back home! When I moved, it was intended to be permanent, and let me tell you how heavy that feels, knowing you’re kind of gone forever. I did end up going back home, and you will too, so take heart in that. Try to focus on making the next few months your time to complete your U.S. “bucket list”! CA is a huge state, and Vegas is around the corner. Maybe focus on all the things you want to do and see before you go. Start a blog about your experience! I’m sure if you change your thinking a little and look at it as one big vacation, it will help.

      Good luck, let me know how you are soon!

  39. Jennifer says

    Hi,

    I’ve just come across your blog after a bit of frantic googling for homesickness and have spent the last hour going through the comments. I just couldn’t just read & run without saying how lovely you are for taking the time to lend an ear and offer support to everyone feeling a bit down from being away from home.

    It’s a topic I can soo relate to! I have been away from home for the last ten years (having moved from UK to Italy to be with my now fiancè at 23). I come from a very close family and, even if I’m lucky enough to go home at least once every two months or so, I have never been able to shake off the homesickness feeling. I have a great job, a fab boyfriend and a lovely little apartment (first house just bought together) but I constantly feel that something is missing. Recently, it’s been worse and I’ve spent the last few months quite teary. As some people have desribed, the pain those dark moments can bring is soo really physical. Weekends are worse. I do have nice colleagues as well as a few good friends (all foreign!) but noone who has ever been able to fill the shoes of my family / best friends from home. I did think I’d get used to it and things would be better once I found a better job and we’d bought our own place, but it didn’t turn out that way. In fact, the older I get the harder it is. Neices n nephews are starting to arrive, parents/relatives start to get older and I feel like I am missing out more and more. We’ve been trying for our own baby (that’s another longg blog story!) and are having some problems (another blog tale!!) and I thought that maybe the reason behind the recent spurt of emotion, but reading everyone’s comments to your blog just made me realise the signs all point to homesickness.

    Your blog has helped me soo much, just knowing that I am not some crazy lunatic who can’t adapt and is just never happy (after all these years!). Graziieee :-)

    Jennifer

    • says

      Hi Jennifer, thank you so much for your sweet comment. I’m so elated to know it has helped you and others, even if only for a few hours. I’m sorry to read that you’ve hit a spot of homesickness and there are other things tugging at you emotionally. You’re NOT a crazy lunatic! It’s normal to miss “home” at some point, no matter how long you’ve been in your adopted country, or how many things you have going for you. At least you aren’t too far from home…perhaps popping back for a weekend would help you.

      Good luck on your baby project and I’m hoping the holidays bring you glowing happiness and health.

  40. Breda says

    Hi
    It’s great reading all about homesickness, we moved to sydney from Ireland in August and our 5 year old is really finding it hard to settle. Crys every night for her old school, friends and home. She is an only child and finding it hard to make friends. Any suggestions

    • says

      Hi Breda, so sorry for the delayed response. The one thing about children…they are very resilient, more so than we are as adults! I’d try to keep her busy, take her to new, exciting museums/aquariums/zoos, etc., in Sydney. I loved being able to feed the kangaroos at the Symbio zoo. Even riding the train to the city can be an exciting excursion. Perhaps also consider finding an expat group of mothers who have non-Aussie children also looking to connect with others.

      Sydney is full of culture and things to do, so I’d just plan on exploring it as much as possible, and in time, she’ll settle in. Good luck!

  41. Dean says

    I was let go from a job of 14 years in Omaha because of a new CEO. To make ends meet for my family, I’ve taken a position in Baltimore so cash flow is not disrupted. My wife and I talked about this move and felt it was best for our family at the time, but I am so homesick and sad, that I go back to my hotel room and weep nearly every night. I am actively searching for new positions back in Omaha, but until that happens, I’m stuck in a place I don’t like, and whose culture is totally different than my former reality. It’s not a foreign country, but it might as well be since cultural differences abound between the east coast and midwest. I’m going through the bargaining stage of grief at this point, promising God anything to get back to the place I love, and I’m also taking anti anxiety medicine to deal with the lows. Taking one day at a time makes the process not seem so overwhelming, but keeping that focus can be a challenge sometimes.

    • says

      Dean, I can feel the anguish behind your comment. I am so sorry that you feel so badly and that a job loss is what forced your move. Being homesick on top of all the stress you must feel totally SUCKS. Keeping the focus on one day at a time, knowing you WILL eventually get back to Omaha is indeed challenging, I’m sure. All I can say is write down exactly what you want. For some reason, I find when I write things down, they almost always come to fruition, even when I don’t have any idea how. And keep working your network in Omaha. I bet as soon as we flip into 2013 and everyone has a fresh budget, there will be more hiring. Just keep reminding yourself (and the universe) that this is TEMPORARY!

      Please let me know how you are. I bet you’ll be back home with your family early next year.

      • Dean says

        I wrote a comment on November 27 that I had been let go of a former position I held for 14 years and took a position in Maryland, expressing my anguish the despair I felt because of my homesickness. You told me to write down what I wanted because I was making a declaration to the universe and that for some reason writing it down seemed to get you what you wanted most of the time.

        I did what you suggested, stating that I choose a new job in Omaha by January 15 without anything in the hopper at that time. Long story short is that I was offered a new job on January 18, and accepted it the next day. Conincidence? Maybe, but I prefer to think that God was working on behalf and that writing down one’s choices made a difference. I’m giving my notice tomorrow in MD and then will be driving back to my home. Thanks for listening and responding back to me. It really helped.

        • says

          Dean, this is so AMAZING! I am so happy for you! Thanks for coming back and letting me know that you did write what you wanted down, and that things are moving in the direction you have envisioned for yourself. You just experienced exactly what I have experienced when I put my well-intentioned goals into the universe.

          Congratulations on your new job, good luck moving, and enjoy being reunited with your family and home! Be sure to celebrate and throw that gratitude back into the universe too. Looks like 2013 is going to be a better year for you…amen to that!

  42. Stephenie says

    I am so glad i came across this. I’m in a bit of a different situation. I’m 2o years old and finally “own my own” so to speak. This is the first time ive ever left home, and do to finances and other problems with my father’s job my whole family had to move away out of state. I moved in with my boyfriend (of almost 3 years) because the thought of leaving him was breaking my heart. Its been two months now. At first i was a little shaken up at the thought but was ok for the most part. Now i guess the hype of being in my new home is gone. Thanksgiving rolled around and i somehow made it through that. Now Christmas is right around the corner and im even more depressed. Somedays i can’t even get out of bed. I cry off and on and its so unpredictable. I miss them all so much. I feel so alone now and kinda like this “darkness” or depression is taking hold of me and im having a hard time getting a hold of myself. I constantly beat myself up for being “weak” because i cry so much about it and i thought id be better by now. Any tips or ideas on how to help me cope with all of this? Any help would be much appreciated.

    • says

      Hi Stephenie, so sorry for the delay in getting back to you! Also hate that you were not feeling good, especially around the holidays. I’m hoping you are settling in more and that things are looking up.

      You asked for tips/help for coping with homesickness, and I’d say, be sure to read my post, 10 Tips for Managing Homesickness (http://www.gritandglamour.com/2012/07/24/10-tips-for-managing-homesickness/), as well as all the comments on this post, if you haven’t. I offer a lot of tips in my comments back, and you will see that you are not alone! So many people experience what you are feeling.

      Let me know how you are, and I hope you are in a better place now.

  43. Hannah says

    Hi, i was looking for some help on being homesick and this helps, thanks! I moved from Kansas City to Minnesota a couple of months ago with my boyfriend for his job. Its been ok up until now. I talk to my family every few days so that helps and my boyfriend was around more and at home every night (for the 3 months before moving he was out of state for his job) so like i said it made things easier. But now he is working 16+ hours a day 7 days a week and i rarely get to see him. I have a job to keep me busy during the week to keep my mind off “home” but i don’t have any friends up here so its making me really miss home and my family and friends. I’m at the point if rejection and am hating everything about Minnesota and North Dakota (since i live on the boarder, live in one and work in the other). I’m really getting tired of being told that i sound like I’m from the South too just because i done over pronounce my O’s. I how thus feeling will subside.

    • says

      Hi Hannah, so many other commenters have been through what you are going through. You definitely don’t have to leave your own country to experience homesickness. The first few months are the hardest, that’s just the honest truth. It takes time to create a new “normal” for yourself in your new city. Hopefully through your job you might make some friends, or perhaps at the gym, or church, or through volunteering (there’s almost always an animal rescue that needs help!). Try to stay busy and find ways to expand your circle.

      Good luck with everything and please come back and let me know how you are!

  44. Karissa says

    Hi there. So about two years ago I decided I wanted to study abroad. Last year at this time I went through with it, and it was an amazing experience. So amazing, in fact, that I decided to come back THIS year.

    The difference seems to be that I chose to study abroad the first time around because I wanted the new experience, the new culture, the new people. This time, I’m not sure why I came back. Because I wanted to hang onto the past? Possibly. But whatever the reason, I’ve never been so down.

    My friends are the same, but my feelings are drastically different. I’ve been here for over three weeks now, and I feel like I’m stuck. I miss my mom and dad. I miss my bed and my cat. I want to go home so badly sometimes that I can’t breathe – I’ve had several panic attacks that leave me feeling like I’m dying. This time around, I’m miserable, and I don’t get it because last year was amazing. I still go out with my friends, but I have this constant weight on my chest, this nagging anxiety that never leaves.

    I’m terrified of going the rest of the semester feeling this way. I just want to go home…

    • says

      Hi Karissa, thanks for your comment.

      Sorry to read you’re having such a difficult time. I suspect that you’re getting a touch of homesickness, because unlike the first time you studied abroad, things are not new, different, and exciting. It’s often the change, the fun of exploring new places and the unknown that make time away from home less daunting. That “unknown” is a challenge that keeps us busy, physically and mentally, so we spend less time thinking about what we’re missing back home. Since you’ve returned to a place you’ve already been, a place where you had established patterns, that “newness” and excitement is not there anymore.

      Although homesickness can be quite crushing, try to remind yourself this is TEMPORARY…you’re actually already almost halfway through the semester! Try to make the most of it. This may be the last time you have the freedom and privilege you currently have to just explore and do what you want. Once life kicks in after college, trust me, you’ll wish you had that kind of freedom and opportunity. Just remember every day you wake up and look in the bathroom mirror that you’re a day closer to leaving, so carpe diem! Grab your friends and make a pact to maximize your time there, to be in the moment while walking in nature, cooking together and learning new recipes from that country, or maybe even volunteering.

      Stay busy and you’ll be home before you know it!

  45. says

    It’s great to read all the comments here! And the honesty of the blog. I have just moved to Melbourne from London with my partner and its crazy to see so many people finding life in Australia just as hard as I am. Been here nearly 3 months now and I have been exactly through the grief of homesickness but didn’t really put two and two together, my boyfriend thought I was going crazy with all the mood swings but your exactly right, I have a huge hole in my heart and I’m grieving for the good life we had back home! Life here is so completely different, so much more money worries! But it has been so good to read your blog and realise I’m not going crazy! Hehe going to send this to my boyfriend! Thanks! : )

  46. Em says

    I was really pleased to stumble upon the blog and comments, it is reassuring knowing that other people have felt exactly the same way, and it seems like writing these feelings down might help.
    I moved from the UK to Norway around 9 months ago, and i found that the feelings of homesickness started straight away and have not gone away. I moved here with my partner after he was offered a good job over here, when we first found out about it, it seemed so exciting, but i think even then i knew that i would struggle, as homesickness is something i have had at many points in my life.
    The feelings range from anger, to irrational dislike of local customs, fear of going out and general sadness. One of the big problems is that whilst my partner goes to work every day, i have not managed to find work as i do not speak norwegian (I am learning, but it is hard!), so even though i am well qualified, there is very little work available(which means that money is also a big issue). Every day i think that the saddest thing is that i have literally nobody to talk to about it, as i know no one who lives here.
    The silly thing is that we live in a beautiful area, overlooking the sea, with the beach 5 minutes walk away – these are things i never dreamed of having in the uk, but although i enjoy these things, they do not make up for missing home. I often imagine myself waking up and just walking to the shops in my old city in the uk, or seeing my friends from work, or just strolling to the park on a sunny day. It is silly as well because although i miss my home city, i would gladly go back to anywhere in the uk just to get away from the language barrier.
    I hope these feelings will eventually go away, but it feels like it has been such a long time since i have really felt like me, and i can’t help thinking it is all my own fault as i had thought i might feel like this but just ignored those feelings!

    • Miriam says

      Em, It’s a long time since you wrote and I wonder how life is going now. Hopefully much better – at least it has been a great summer in Norway! I am Australian and have lived in Norway for 6.5 years now. I found this website tonight because, like everyone else here, I am feeling homesick. The strange thing is that I also love Norway. But I am not Norwegian and sometimes I just want to speak (Australian) English, with native speakers…and to be an Australian. (I don’t feel like my Australian self in Norwegian).

      I suspect that you won’t read this but if you do, I want to encourage you to keep on with your language studies. I know that it is hard when people switch to English – it makes one feel that one’s Norwegian is inadequate! And it can be difficult to understand the various dialects. But persevere! The times when I don’t feel homesick are when I am with my (Norwegian) friends – speaking Norwegian. It seems you already understand this but Norwegian is the key to opening ALL the doors in Norway! So sit down with the local paper, or a magazine that would interest you (if it were in English) and a good dictionary. Start building up your vocabulary and the grammar will sort itself out!

      Other than that, I wish that I could give you a hug, or invite you in for a cup of tea. (NOT filtered black coffee without milk or sugar)! :) Norway can be a tough experience (and I write this having also lived in China and the US) but once you crack the code it will get better. I can’t help with the homesickness but encourage you and remind you that it goes in waves. Mine certainly does and like others who have responded here, I note that it gets worse after I have been in Australia. I returned 2 months ago from my last visit, so it’s no surprise I’m here, on this site! However, despite money issues, it might help if you could plan a few trips back to the UK by finding some cheap airfares. I’ve been back “home” twice in 6.5 years and it isn’t enough. Sometimes I have just longed to be there for a weekend or a day…just to have a conversation (that isn’t on Skype) and to smell Australian smells and speak my own language. It was good to do this recently and even if my moods are a bit up and down, post return, that recent visit helps – rather like charging up my Australian “cultural” battery. Anyway, good luck! For the first 3 years in Norway I spoke only Norwegian. I knew no other English speakers and the larger towns were a long way away, so there wasn’t much point looking for them! Funnily enough, I became friends with a couple of Swedish women. Swedes often feel lonely in Norway too. :) The point is, I realise that you might be in an isolated situation, and I understand the social mores. Whilst “not knowing anyone” is never a problem in Australia (you just meet people and before you know it you’ll be having a BBQ or a cup of tea or coffee with them), it can be a barrier of nearly insurmountable proportions in Norway! Just remember that Norwegians aren’t comfortable with this aspect of themselves and that it isn’t about you! It’s just cultural…and eventually the ice cracks anyway. :)

      So good luck and take care of yourself!

      • says

        Miriam, thank you for reaching out to Em…so nice of you. Sounds like you know how homesickness works, and that you are riding the wave. Hope you’re also feeling a little better!

  47. noorie says

    Hi..!!
    Actually I have read and heard a lot about homesickness and depression but I have a problem whose solution i’m not able to get. I did my B.tech from delhi, India but then my family shifted to other place and I got my job in Noida. I spent months in the starting very well but then I used to have symptoms like uncomfortableness, awakening in the night, B.P. low..even sometimes in night I used to get up n start feeling very low and becuase of this I had to be admitted to hospital 2 times… It was going worse and worse every day…. The frequency of my problem was increasing… So i went to a psychiatrist and he said that being away from home has become a cause of these symptoms and gave me medicines..I took them for a while but I dont wanna get addicted to them….
    Finally i decided to leave the job and get back to home…as I thought that feeling comfortable on medicines basis is not good at all…afterall I am making my life a mesh of medicines..Is this a fine decision?? Should I stick to it or need to change it?
    Please help.

  48. Hilary says

    This was a wonderful article for me to read tonight, as well as the comments section. I got married 3 years ago to my high school sweetheart and we immediately moved to Colorado from Wisconsin. I was very homesick at the time but I figured it would pass, and it mostly did. 6 months ago we moved to Hawaii on his military orders. We will be there for 3 years and then we plan to move back near our families. Although I know that 3 years will go by quickly, and I am immensely grateful for the experience to live in Paradise, I have gotten a bought of homesickness that is worse than when we first married. Right now I am visiting my family and I have such mixed feelings. I know that I would never want to move back to this town and I miss my husband and our life together in Hawaii. But it feels like my days here are ticking away much too quickly and tonight I had the realization that my time is limited and I need to do more activities with each relative. Ultimately when I leave I know that I will feel guilty for not spending enough time with everyone because that’s how I always feel. The first week after being away from my family I am always so weepy, and it makes my husband miserable because he feels that it is his fault. Homesickness is the most horrible feeling and it makes me so guilty, like I am either letting down my husband or making my family sad. I just want to have us all together again but I know that won’t happen for a few years. It doesn’t help that although Hawaii is gorgeous it is a vastly different culture than where I grew up. I love the culture and I am learning lots and meeting some new and interesting people, but it really heightens the feeling of being out-of-place. I just want a life where I don’t have to say goodbye to either my family or my husband all the time.

  49. Barbara says

    Hi,
    this article really makes me feel better. My move wasn’t so drastic, for i moved from a small village surrounded by the woods to a big city 2 hours away by car. I felt so stupid when i found myself crying like a baby thinking about my parents and the kind of life i had left. It’s been 9 months since i moved but someday i still can’t cope with the pain from not being able to see them everyday. I get to meet them trice a month more or less, but every time i go back to my new home i feel so guilty ’cause i’m leaving them again, but at the same time guilty towards my boyfriend ’cause i’d want to spend more time with them, but that’d mean leaving him alone.

  50. Autumn says

    I am a southern girl, Memphis TN to be exact. I moved to Australia to marry my husband. I came for 14 days and then came for good several months later. The whole time I’ve been here, about once a month for days all I can do is cry. I call my grandmother and as soon as I hear her voice it’s all I can do to hold tears back. I Skype with friends but I feel so isolated here. I am on the Gold Coast. People say Americans are materialistic, my goodness, image is everything here. I feel so unattracrive. The food is awful and so is the service. But I did know that bit before I came. Sometimes I let my husband know what I want to eat that way no one hears my accent. I’ve never had to ration what I bought at the grocery store. The cuts of meat are all wrong. Please and thank you are nonexistent here. Gas prices go up 50 cents on the weekend. Australian talk about how great wadges are but what’s the point of making $20 an hour, when everything hurts the wallet. $20 an hour here doesn’t go far. I can’t get a phone call back on a job, I’ve been here for 8 months. As much as I love my husband I can’t sit in Australia and be a miserable housewife. Something has to give. And I do feel an anti American sentiment here.

    • says

      Oh girl, I am feeling you! Your comment resonated strongly with me that I had to respond immediately.

      Believe me, I know how you feel. I felt the same thing when I was in Australia. There is anti-American sentiment, especially in the media. I also couldn’t get a call back for a job and I’m very well-qualified with many years of experience and a Master’s degree. The sticker shock was also regularly mind blowing. Australia is a beautiful country but it’s just so hard to get ahead and I found it to be very oppressive in terms of rules and laws. Really, there is no where more free than the southeastern US. We have an unrivaled quality of life, especially where I’m from, and the cost of living is so good. So it’s quite the slap in the face when you look at all you had and what you don’t have now.

      My agreement with you is probably not much consolation, because you’re still there and you’re still missing home. I did eventually come back to the US because I knew in my heart I could not get ahead in Australia like I would In America. Eventually my husband did decide to come with me; it was a gut wrenching decision to leave but I had to do it because I was quickly slipping into major depression and nothing seemed to work for me.

      Ultimately, you have to do what’s right for you in your heart. If you given it your very best try, that’s all you can do. I do know with homesickness that it does get better, but it takes a long time. My husband still has bouts of it and he’s been in the US for three years, has a job, all of it.

      I do hope that you can find some peace, I know it’s incredibly emotional and it feels very black when you’re there and you feel isolated. If you can try and reach out to some ex-pats, I think it would help. I really do wish you all the very best, I know especially at the southern girl that this is a very difficult transition. Oh, and I know the thing. I have the same issue, I remember one time trying to order water at an Asian restaurant, and they could not understand what I was saying I told my husband said “waw-ta” with his Australian accent. It can be so frustrating.

      Anyway, please let me know how you go. I really would love to hear that things work out for you, but no matter what you do I would love to hear a little status update. Sending you lots of positive vibes!

      Thanks for sharing.

  51. Michaela says

    Hi :) I just wanted to say a big thank you for this post and all the comments! I am a San Diegan teenager who’s just moved to Brisbane, and its been really difficult. I thought I would adjust, but its been 10 months and I still cry most nights. There’s really nothing like America, is there? Moving here has made me realize how much I took little things, like Costco, for granted. Reading your posts and all these people going through the same roller coaster I am just validated my feelings and made me feel that I’m not so abnormal for missing home so intensely. My family is mostly adjusted to the Aussie way of life, so often I feel like the downer who can’t get over it. Anyway, thank you again :)

  52. Sarah says

    First of all, thank you so much for making this blog!
    I’m 16 and just moved to Italy last Friday and I’ll be going to school here for a year. For the first day or two, everything was amazing! The town I’m living in is gorgeous, and my host family is really nice and they speak English so they can help me learn Italian. But for the last week, I’ve been missing my home in the US more than I thought was even possible.
    Every single day, I cry over the tiniest things, like eating dinner with my host family or watching tv (although the American shows that have been poorly dubbed would probably make me want to cry anyway). I even find myself crying about things that just barely remind me of home – my host family’s black lab, because I have a dog at home, my younger host brother because my 3 year old brother is all the way in the US, and the piano because I have a piano at home.
    I know this really is an opportunity of a lifetime and I should be enjoying the time I get to spend here, but I just can’t. The only thing I can think about when I’m at “home” is how much I miss my real home, and all I want to do is get on a plane and go back there.
    I’m keeping a journal and I’ve been writing in it every day, but that isn’t helping any either. I’ve talked to my friends back home on Facebook a few times, but I’ve been trying to stay away from Facebook because I’ve heard it can make it harder to adjust. I know this is all temporary, but its still really hard for me and I don’t know how to deal with it. Any advice you have for me would be very much appreciated.

    • says

      Sarah, so sorry it took me some time to respond. I just adopted a little rescue dog a couple weekends ago, and I’ve been so preoccupied with trying to get her settled in.

      I’ve made this same comment to many of my sweet, homesick exchange students: please read all the comments on this post, and my 10 Tips post (linked above), and my responses. There are lots of tips and points throughout.

      You are not alone! And this is normal, and temporary. Once you get into the swing of school, you will begin to make friends and you’ll have studies to get your mind off of missing home, and things will get better. Try to connect with other exchange students…they are feeling the same things, I promise you! It helps tremendously when you can share your feelings with someone who gets what you are going through.

      I do think staying away from Facebook is a good idea. I actually lost a friendship while I was overseas because of a FB status post I made once when I was feeling really depressed, and they just didn’t understand. There is a tendency to use it as a place to vent, and people who have not moved overseas just cannot understand what homesickness coupled with a language barrier, a different culture and time zone feels like. People are patient for a while, then they tend to get tired of hearing about how sad you are…it’s unfortunate, but true. So someone might say something in response that could make you feel worse, so yeah, avoid it. If you want to stay connected to friends and family at home, I suggest a scheduled, video Skype session once a week.

      I really do hope these feeling subside a bit, and that you can take advantage of this incredible opportunity! Maybe you can start by asking your host family to teach you how to make some of those amazing Italian meals, to get your mind off of the U.S. when you have downtime there. What you learn in Italy from the language, to the food, to what you learn about yourself will shape you for the rest of your life. (And at 16…OMG, you are so young, you’ll be light years ahead of your peers!) You’ve gone to Italy as a young woman. You’ll come back a woman, trust me. YOU GOT THIS! Your little bro, your dog, your mom and dad…they’ll all be there for you when you get back.

      Please keep me posted on how you are!

  53. asad says

    i am going apart from my home for studies, i am feeling like hell its too painful how to survive this i dont know , each and every moment is very painful plz help me to get out of this its totally uncontrollable every time i am thinking about i feel like suffocation and some times my heart beat rates becomes fast n its painful too how to get rid of this plz plz help me

    • says

      Hello there, I am so sorry you feel so badly! There have been many students who have commented here and on my homesickness tips post, and I’ve responded to them. Please read through all the comments and you will see that this is normal, and you will also see my suggestions.

      Remember to tell yourself this is temporary…then you will be home again! Try to focus on your studies, and making friends in class. There are bound to be other exchange students or students from other countries who are feeling the very same thing. Try to connect with them and share your feelings. Having someone to talk to, especially someone who knows what you are going through really helps.

      Good luck!

  54. Anna V Salan says

    Is it normal to feel homesick four years after moving to the US? Apparently. I am from Barcelona and moved to NJ for my MBA in 2009. I found a job and decided to stay. I’ve gone through a lot, emotionally, economically, and professionally. I know many people would “quit” and go back home for much less than what I’ve been through here, but I stayed. I don’t regret staying, but what puzzles me is that now, two months after moving to a gorgeous apartment with my all-american and fantastic boyfriend, I think I’m homesick! Does this make any sense? I’m moody, and I have this horrible feeling of guilt for “having a good life” while my family and friends are an ocean apart from me…is this normal? After so long? Perhaps I need new distractions. I am also concerned about dragging my boyfriend into this emotional roller coaster, but something tells me that he knows what I’m going through…

    • says

      Anna, I’m sorry you’re feeling homesick. If there is one thing I have learned about homesickness, it’s this: there is no “normal”…everyone is affected by it in different ways, for different reasons, at different times. Four years into being an expat is still very early, so yes, even if everything is going swimmingly, it can still hit. My husband has three years of being in the States under his belt, and he still feels sad now and then. But it does pass.

      One thing you should NOT do is allow yourself to feel guilty for “having a good life.” Do you think your family and friends would want you to be miserable here? Of course not! You made the decision to change your future and lifestyle by moving to the U.S., and that takes guts. The fact that you are doing well is testament to your dedication and belief that YOU DESERVE A GOOD LIFE! So do enjoy it and perhaps share the fruits of your labor with those back home. Maybe send a little package of American goodies back home. Call and tell them you only called them to say I love you, and thank them for supporting your move. I promise that they would never want you to not only be away, but also be unhappy. You living your dream is what makes your absence a little more tolerable for them.

      Maybe you do need some new distractions. It’s a beautiful time of year in the U.S., so try to get out and take some nice walks to clear your head. Say a prayer on those walks, say thank you for the opportunity and your happiness. Even if you need to cry, do it, acknowledge it, tell yourself that you’ve had your cry for the day and then focus your mind on something else. Whether that is reading a new book, preparing a new recipe, writing a poem, cleaning your place (very therapeutic!), or googling new things to do in your city with your love. Feel the sadness and even the moodiness, acknowledge that it IS only because you miss your loved ones, and go on with your day. Something about your goal-setting/goal-achieving personality tells me you can do this. That maybe a little part of this is you beating yourself up about not having all your emotions in check when you are clearly someone who has their life very in control. I get that. I am the same. Got mad at myself for not being more strong, and that’s silly. The hardest part is actually selling all your stuff, and leaving your home country, consciously, for good! And you did that! You’ll always your feet in two continents…that’s just expat life. And that is the new you. Your heart and mind are big enough to love both.

      Don’t worry about how your homesickness might be affecting others…just tell your guy when you feel down so he knows it’s that and not him. He does understand. He loves you and he must realize how hard it is to leave loved ones behind. Just remember this is temporary and you will not feel like this forever! You will be OK!

      Please drop me a line here anytime you feel like you need to vent. I hope that by the time you read this, this wave of homesickness will have passed and you are feeling better. :)

      • says

        Thank you so very much V. I wrote my comment when I was feeling really sad and you captured every feeling I’m having. It feels great to be able to associate these feelings to something that you can learn more about, it makes you feel less lonely. I read some of your other posts and your suggestions and I started applying some of them. I started my own blog last night, I need to get things out and share them so we can continue to help others. And yes, I am feeling better already (thank you!). My boyfriend noticed, he gave me a warm hug and I know it was his way to say he knows what I go through, he’s there for me, and everything will be fine. I have scheduled Skype calls during the weekend with my family and friends so feeling much much better. Thank you again for your quick reply and the great advise, you rock! I’ll keep in touch. Big hug! :)

        • says

          Oh, YAY, YAY, YAY! This makes me so happy! Good for you, Anna. Comments like yours are why I try as hard as I can to always acknowledge comments here on G&G…they DO matter, and they can really help someone.

          And I LOVE this line from your new blog(!): “I decided to start this blog and I’ll be sharing little and big stories of my successes and failures, and my old and new recipes for survival and happiness.” Recipes for survival and happiness. I just love that. Actual recipes that go along with your journey is brilliant! As the daughter of European immigrants, I know very well how comforting a special family recipe can be, how food can just take you back. And how much love there is in a specially-prepared, home-cooked meal. I think this is just lovely, and wish you all the very best.

  55. Joanne says

    My husband and I moved to the UK from sunny California 8 years ago, leaving all of our friends and family behind and at first everything was lovely. We spent a lot of time together sightseeing and setting up our home (got a dog etc). A few years later I became very career orientated and in my line of work was required to work long hard hours. My husband works from home 4 days a week and only 1 day away, which meant that he was home alone for hours on end. He started to get homesick about three years ago and it has been festering since then. He has recently told me that he is going home and there is nothing I can do to stop him. I am devastated we fell in love when we were young and have been married for 13 years, we are only 35 years old now so have spent most of our lives together. He is really depressed and I am not sure what I can do. He says he still loves me but just needs to go home… :( Anyone have any advice?

    • says

      Joanne, my short answer is this: Let him go.

      That’s probably not what you want to hear, but it’s what you need to do, for two reasons:

      1. It allows him to go home and nurture his soul and find his “normal” again without guilt. I know how he feels…I felt the same. Sometimes there is just nothing you can do for that person, and even they can’t do anything for themselves after a certain point. We either assimilate in a new country, or we don’t. Sounds like he has really given it a serious try, and in his heart, he knows it’s just not his “forever,” you know?

      2. The distance and time apart are really good for getting some clarity around your feelings for each other. He may find once he is home, that home without you is not what he wants at all.

      Sometimes, just a month at home is enough of a recharge. Sometimes it isn’t. But you know that line from that Sting song, “If you love someone, set them free”? It’s true. This is part of a reply I left for another commenter:

      “When I moved to Australia, I was in a similar predicament: I moved for him, totally my own choice, voluntarily. I went there, married him, and went back and forth for a year, bouncing between the States and Sydney. I was so incredibly homesick, and I just felt like everything was working against me there, to the point that when I left the last time, I expected that my husband would file for divorce. I wasn’t me there…the homesickness made me feel depressed, desperate, and volatile. I couldn’t find a job, and I had left a very, very good professional career in the U.S. I was stressed financially and emotionally; it brought out the worst in both of us. So I left. I had to go, and my husband knew he had to let me go.”

      I left, expecting it to be over. And then my husband decided he would come to the U.S. for me. So you never know how things will work out. Being apart usually helps you realize what really matters.

      Hope you have a happy resolution, of course. I know this is hard. Please come back and let me know how things go. I wish you the best!

  56. Bea says

    Hello. I think this article will be so helpful to me and i’m going to read through all the links later tonight. Thank you so much fr sharing your excperience and helping all the rest of us. I moved from Sweden to London a little over three weeks ago. I’m basically taking a gap year from upper highschool just to work over here and test my wings. I have struggled with on and off depression since i was thirteen (i’m now eighteen) and, even though life had its silver lining and amazing moments over the years i started finding it increasingly hard to be happy with my life as i got to 16/17. I felt unhappy with myself, I am an overthinker and have had extremely low self-esteem most of my life. Last winter my depression was extremely bad and my mom mentioned the possibility of going abroad. I thought it wasn’t realistic option and brushed her off but an idea was planted in my mind and after a bit i decided. I made all the plans and knowing i was going away helped me care less and feel more free. My confidence grew immensely and i was happier. When i arrived in London i was happy i suppose. I had missed my final appointment with my therapist (which is really silly). I was fine. My mom was with me for the first week and i was stressed because it was so hard to get a place to live. I had days when i didn’t want to go out. It got better though. When she left i still didn’t have anywhere to live so i stayed with her cousin who i only just met and i was very unhappy because i felt so lost. Eventually i found a place and started feeling better. I didn’t move in until a week after i put down the deposit but during that time i felt so hopeful and started applying for jobs and such. I moved in three days ago and felt so happy. I noticed i had a bit of a tummy ache but i thought all was fine so i bought necessary things for my room and socialized with my roomies. My body had reacted to the move and my tummy felt worse. my second evening i was in so much pain i couldn’t stop crying, i couldn’t eat. I spent yesterday and today in, in extreme pain, phoning my mom and crying. I suddenly realized that i felt so alone. I know no one here. I have a disease that will probably make me feel equally ill again and it’s so hard to deal with alone. I miss my mom so so so much and i just want to go home. I still don’t feel well and i can’t stop crying. I think i’m homesick but i worry that i won’t be able to handle this and that i will have to go home (which feels like such a failure, completely pathetic and so boring) because of my health or my mental health. I worry even more because i’ve lost a lot of weight and also i don’t even look forward to working or getting to know people anymore. My roomie invited me to come to a party this weekend and all i can feel is dread and i just want to go home right now. I’ve had bad batches of homesickness when i was very young and also missing my mom because i used to go to Australia every second christmas for five weeks and i hated it. I missed my mom so much because like she’s my rock. And i hadn’t even thought of this being difficult until i got sick so maybe it will pass when i feel better? I’m just freaking out and i feel so lonely. I don’t know if i’m too young for this. Should i have gone for an exchange to live in a family and go to school? Because there is SO MUCH to fix all the time. Sorry for this rant. I’m just very panicky at the moment. xxx
    -Bea

    • says

      Bea, so sorry you are so stressed and worried right now. It’s not easy leaving home. I can’t tell you what is best for you, as only you know. With exchange students going to uni, homesickness is usually overcome by mounting homework assignments, exams to study for, and forced proximity (in class) to people they can identify with. Friendships usually come from class, so in your case, it may be a little more difficult to make the transition since you will be working casually, I assume. That said, it’s not impossible!

      Have you considered staying and working with a new therapist in London, if possible? Because, I think, if you stay and can work through your emotions with a therapist, then you will probably make some friends through work, or your roomie. Also, I think it would be tremendous for your self-esteem to be able to do some things on your own there, to spread your wings a bit and not be so reliant on your mom for your happiness. I LOVE my mom too…she is my rock! I live five minutes from her, and missed her a lot when I moved. But moving also made me realize just how much I could accomplish on my very own. Little things, like going to the ATM, taking the train somewhere new, even cooking for yourself are a victory when you are in a new and foreign environment.

      You know that saying, “Fake it ’til you make it”? Well, that’s what I think you should do, just for the party your roomie invited you to. GO! Tell yourself you can cry all you want until you get to the party. Then for the hours you are at the party, no crying. Make a goal to meet and have conversations with at least three new people in the room. You never know who might be there…a person you fancy, a job connection, maybe even your future best friend. But go, and try to stay busy. Perhaps set yourself a goal that if you’re not a little happier by Christmas, then you go back home.

      OF course, if you are so depressed your health suffers, you must do what is best for you. But do realize that even those of us who don’t suffer from depression react the same way in the throes of homesickness…we cry, we ache, we don’t eat and feel bad. OVer time, however, it does get better. You won’t be that sad every minute of every day. You will even find joy in things in your new city. So try to have some perspective, as three weeks is so early.

      Get your party frock on and try to have a little fun this weekend!

      Good luck, and let me know how you are!

  57. Bea says

    Hi again, I thought i’d message you again just to tell you i feel A LOT better. I wrote you in a moment of complete panic and disillusion. Of course i see all my feelings and thoughts as valid but i was going a bit overboard with the thinking and thinking and thinking and now i have been able to give myself a bit more perspective. Of curse there will still be ups and downs but now i feel i can handle the situation and also try to make it better by finding a job, doing fun things alone and making plans with friends back home. I’m making an appointment to see a gp and i will move from there regarding my health and also if i need to see a therapist. I think i will be fine, since i generally know how to handle my emotions better nowadays and am a lot happier. As i said, the other day was a dark patch. I think also my perspective got messed up because i wasn’t able to get out and so i had a lot of contact with home and didn’t really see the whole picture, that the feelings i was experience are common and natural. I also suddenly felt pressure to make the most of my time just because i wasn’t doing anything and i started panicking over social things and feeling like this party today was my ONLY chance to get to know anyone. I’m not going simply because i’m not feeling completely well yet (getting there though, i was put on new meds) and also because i just don’t feel like it. There will be plenty of opportunites!

    Regarding my mom, i think my views got a bit clouded since she was the only one i had contact with when i felt like shit. Although she is still my rock and I’ll be superhappy when i see her, i know i can do this alone.

    It’s funny because “fake it ’til you make it” is literally the saying i live by, socially. Not, of course, faking my personality, just kind of tweaking the appearence of self esteem & happiness. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it dosn’t.

    I met with my moms cousin and his girlfriend yesterday for dinner (despite my pain, it worked!!) and i talked to a few of my friends about coming over next weekend which would be great since it is much easier finding new people when you are out with friends. I’m maybe not as excited as i was a few days ago, but i am so sure that the excitment will come back. I have so much to look forward to here, in London, if i go visit relatives in Australia, and when i get back home. I know i am strong enough to do this and even though i may not feel on top of the world at the moment, that’s fine.

    Thank you for bearing with my all-over-the-place letter and responding so kindly and wisely. I’ll bear in mind all of your tips and i’ll try to write internet-posts when i’m feeling clear headed, as oppose to when i’m at my saddest.

    Hope you are well!!! Thank you for helping so many people on this.

    • says

      Super, Bea! So glad to read this. I’m happy to know you are feeling better and are ready to accept this challenge. Thanks for leaving a follow-up comment.

      All the best to you!

    • Saoirse says

      Bea, a lot of what you wrote I can completely relate to! I’m glad you’re doing a lot better now. You will get there!

  58. says

    I already feel 10 times better than I did this morning after reading your ‘Homesickness’ posts!

    I moved to Paris from New Zealand 2 months ago, on a sort of gap-year as I was unhappy with work and trying to sort out what kind of future I want for myself, and this week is the first time that I have started having the ‘what the hell am I doing here’ thoughts. It’s like it has suddenly hit me that Parisians and Kiwis are just different, personality and life-style wise, and I feel like I just cant make it gel.

    I feel like much less of a dork now that I know its normal and acceptable to question myself and miss my ‘normal’ life, and it’s also great to know that I’m allowed to talk about missing home, feeling out of place, and having doubts about my situation. Voicing the fact that I feel ‘blugh’ doesnt mean I have failed, or that I will fail in my year overseas, it just means I miss ‘normal’ and it may take a while to find my ‘normal’ in Paris.

    • says

      Hi Kat…I’m really glad that my posts helped you a little! Sometimes just knowing you’re not alone in your feelings makes a huge difference…it helps you realize that what you are feeling is totally par for the course.

      Sounds like you have you head wrapped around homesickness pretty well; that’s half the battle! Hang in there. I think you’re going to be A-OK! Also, have you heard of the blog Paris in Four Months? I think you might like it.http://parisinfourmonths.com

      Good luck!

  59. Kasie says

    This post and the comments have been both a grueling heartache of an experience and a warming sense of not being alone.

    I am 22 and just moved from Ohio to Florida for my boyfriend who chose a job along the coast. I finished up graduate school and made the choice to follow him under the impression that the flight home is only 2 hours. Little did I realize then how excruciatingly painful this process would be.

    I had worked a full-time job back in Ohio, with a potentially great career working out from it. I left that job with nothing lined up here in Florida, in hopes that I would find work quickly and that I had a supportive boyfriend to help. I literally just got the call for a great job offer here, which is excellent, but as soon as I hung up I started crying out of the misery of knowing that it is one step further into being committed to this place.

    I have closed myself off from the world, watching Netflix and only leaving the house to buy essential items or what my boyfriend asks me to buy. I understand that I need to try and explore more, but every time that I go out of the house I just think about how I never wanted to live here on my own and that I foolishly convinced myself that this was the best for me. I think it hurts me more that my boyfriend had interview offers closer to home and he turned them down. I knew I had to support him, or else he would hold it against me the rest of our lives together. But now it is in the reverse scenario. I gave up my family, my friends, my career, the environment that I loved, so much of my money to make this move, and honestly I feel like I gave up a large part of who I am. As I’ve read in some places, I’m going through the stages of grief. Lately I think I’ve been bouncing between anger and depression. I shouldn’t be mad at my boyfriend, but I am so angry with him for choosing this place while knowing how important home was to me. I am even angrier with myself for handing my life over so easily.

    I talk with my family constantly, I especially love Google chatting with my sister (who has been my life-long best friend) and my baby niece who is about 14 months old. They tell me that they miss me a lot but they try to hide it from me knowing that it will make things only harder. I’m afraid I’m starting to annoy the people I care about because I’m constantly whining about missing home. I want to be stronger, but I am constantly crying and too depressed to know what to do.

    Once I start working and know my schedule, I would like to start volunteering in this community with my free time. I’ve always felt a need to have a purpose in helping others, and I think it might alleviate some pain. I am just struggling with accepting that I might not get to experience 4 seasons again: walking through the woods in the fall, cursing at winter snow, loving every ray of sunshine in spring and summer…I don’t feel like I need to live at home again, but I just want to be closer to what I need in my life.

    Sorry for dragging on, I just needed that moment to vent. Thank you for all of your inspiration and strength.
    Kasie

    • says

      Hi Kasie…you can vent here anytime! I’m glad my homesickness post has helped some.

      Whether one moves across the world or across their own country, when you miss home, you miss home. The upside of your move is that you ARE still in your country, and it’s only a two-hour flight home. Fortunately, you don’t have a language barrier, cultural differences, or having to start over…getting driver’s licenses, visas, and such. That adds even more stress, so be thankful for that. And I tell you what, my husband would do anything to get me to move to FL so he could be near the beach (like home in Australia)! We all sacrifice something, we really do.

      I am not sure how long you’ve been in Florida, but I suggest you give it six months to a year, and then decide if it’s for you. Take that job…it will be great for you in terms of keeping you busy, making friends, and having your own cash. That does wonders for your self-worth and self-confidence. See how it goes. I’m sure it will be a lot less depressing once you get into a routine, start making money, and continue the career you’ve established. Cry if you must…it is totally OK! Then pick yourself up off the floor, put your makeup on, and tackle that job. You just never know what…or whom…it brings with it.

      If after a few months of working, things aren’t better, re-evaluate and decide what is best for you. I always tell me commenters on this post to ask themselves this question: Is what I have here worth what I’m leaving behind, what I’m sacrificing? If that BF isn’t AMAZE and your life isn’t better there from an emotional, physical, and financial perspective, then you know what you need to do.

      My husband was so much better after coming to the U.S. once he started school and got a job. Then, answering that question was easy for him. Yes, he WAS getting the opportunity to change careers here that he didn’t have there. He DOES have more freedom here. His money DOES go a lot further here since the cost of living is half that in Australia. Our relationship IS better than it was when we were so stressed with homesickness and visas. All that adds up to being worth the sacrifice of leaving behind beautiful Sydney and his wonderful family.

      OK, so I hope this helps give you some perspective. Try the job, give it some time, and then if it’s not what you really want for the immediate future, pack it up. A few tears in the beginning are better than years of them, years in which you lose yourself while you support someone else’s dream.

      Things could be very different in six months, but only you can decide what is best for Kasie.

      Good luck, doll!

      • Kasie says

        Thank you so much for your supportive and realistic advice. I have never been one to give up, especially in my career goals so I am going to keep pushing to make every opportunity out of my current situation.

        I’ve sat around and cried for a few months, but as you mentioned, it is time to pull myself off of the floor, fix my makeup, and take the world on. I gave myself a dose of this after writing my initial response. I sat here crying over other people’s posts and realized that nothing will ever get better if I continue this same path. So I washed my face and headed off the explore a farmer’s market I’ve been reading about. I met so many nice people and found a great place to find organic foods. In that hour or so, I felt happier than I have in a while.

        I agree that I need to give it time, and I will certainly give it my all with this job. Thank you for your amazing advice and support. Although I do not know you personally, you have helped me in a way I don’t think I could have found anywhere else.

        Take care in all that you do!
        Kasie

        • says

          Yay! You are welcome. Sounds like you’re on the right path! Being able to recognize the signs of homesickness is really half the battle. I think you’re going to be just fine. Just remember that there is never anything wrong with doing what you need to do to make sure you are happy, healthy, and thriving.

    • Saoirse says

      Our situations differ greatly, but our homesickness manifested exactly the same. I hope you’re doing better now. Even reading that other people have went through something identical/similar really helps I think.
      Saoirse

    • says

      Hey Kasie, Yours was the last of my reads tonight and I can relate to all, especially yours. Here’s the kicker, seems everyone is Young… I just turned 68 and just moved 3 states for a contract job (nurse) Tonight I feel like crying, I miss family and friends, I did jump right in and got involved, lovely people here in NC (I’m from MD) Felt everything everyone talks about. I worked the holiday intentionally but I think it made it worse. Speaking to relatives today seemed to really hit me hard. Many good things, lovely temporary and very affordable share home, friendly, easy, private clean. Nice church friends already and even a brand new consultation client outside of the nursing. That was unexpected.!
      Sol here we are, lonely hearts for the night….tomorrow will be better ! Thank you for this blog.

  60. Saoirse says

    (EDITED this because of errors)
    Wish I’d come across this post back in September when I was in the grips of this thing called ‘Homesickness’..
    I feel I should do a little backstory like most people here have.
    I’m an Irish girl in her early twenties. I moved over to the UK in September for University. I graduated from a college in Ireland in January, but my course wasn’t a full honors degree, I began in 2010, finished 2012. And it was probably the most crazy/amazing few years of my life where I felt and experienced literally all those stereotypical college moments- bad and good!
    Until a fall out with (so-called) best friend group that kind of knocked me for six. I suppose College was the first time I came out of my ‘shell’, growing up and high school, I was the ‘shy’ one, although I had some friends I never really felt I fit in anywhere. And then going to College something inside me snapped and I decided it was almost ‘now or never’, and that I was going to be the confident/fun kind of person I had always wanted to me (That I already was only lacked the confidence I guess?). Things like public speaking no longer scared me, and I even threw myself into things like parties/clubbing- all of which I had previously turned my nose up at.Through all the socializing. naturally enough made what I assumed was a solid friend group, and it was for the most part. I guess all girls fall out but thankfully the fall out was near the end of the three years and my exam results did not suffer as much as my self esteem and generally happiness did. All that new found confidence was gone, along with these ‘friends’ I thought I’d have forever. It hurts watching people move on without you, cutting you out of their lives, and for a long time I blamed myself as arguments can get out of hand, but it was a silly fall out with room mates. The most pathetic part being that I grovelled for weeks and weeks and got no reply. Then spent that entire summer cocooned in self loathing, felt like my life was essentially ‘over’ now I’d finished college and I had no clue what I wanted to do in relation to working, I felt so terribly alone (despite having some genuine friends back home, I hated having lost my ‘college friends’).

    When I got accepted to the follow up course at the same college, I jumped at the chance to ‘start over’ and possibly make new friends in the process. The only thing is I lasted about 1 month in total back at the college. I was pretty much against myself so to speak. I hadn’t fully ‘moved on’ and I almost became ill with stress and this overwhelming sadness all of a sudden. In hindsight, I could have easily made it work if I put in more effort, but I couldn’t muster any energy to even attend a lecture. The ‘good’ of the place I once thrived in had gone. It was only months later I finally realized that ‘the good’ was in who you are, not necessarily the place/people/things I valued so much.
    ‘Dropping out’ was something that never was an option and my happy go lucky 19 year old self would have knocked sense into anybody who even attempted to do so- I all but convinced an old male room mate one time that his Business and Law degree was for him but alas, he chose to work for a local Oil company instead and now he’s earning more money than any of us with degrees and seems to be the happiest of all too!
    There was no Oil company like option for me, so yeah, I dropped out of college part 2 and of life for a while. It was the weirdest time going home mid-semester while Family were all out at work, home friends were all at college/jobs/emigrating etc.. I felt like a waste of space and continued to think I was for some time. I took up a part time job in a local fast food restaurant and pretty much never left my house because of the shame I felt when I was home. And there was always a neighbour or relative who would casually slip a ‘Ooh, and you’re working there now instead of college?’.
    It was not the plan, obviously. It was my Parents idea and to be honest it was kind of nice to even get out of the house and my head for a few hours each day.
    Its a bit of a weird statement I know, but dropping out was kind of what I needed to put things back into perspective. It was only sometime after midnight one rainy November night it hit me.
    It had been a 12 hour shift, I was stinking of oil and fat and greasy food. I had my visor and horrible uniform on. I had already mopped the floors twice- the first time was ‘not good enough’, and had finished cleaning every mirror and glass door.
    That weird almost epiphany like moment hit me at the weirdest time, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing a toilet as the duty manager shouted instructions at me from the door, I realized I had done this to myself. I had the power to fix things, I had the power to turn this thing around, and I had essentially thrown my life down that same toilet over some girls who in the end were not worth the contents found in that same toilet I had to clean.
    So, gradually I turned it round just in time for the holiday season. I began by simply things like filling the days I wasn’t working with household chores for my Parents, walking my dogs and not avoiding the neighbours this time.. stuff like that because I was no longer ashamed to be home from college and working in a fast food restaurant, not any-more, because I had a ‘plan’. Life hadn’t exactly turned out like I’d hoped but it was not over like I’d oh so dramatically thought for many months, and so I found my way back to some sort of happiness by enjoying simpler things. And the odd weekend my home friends were around, we would go out together and it would almost- almost feel like ‘old times’. I appreciated them more because they had always been there, even when I was too wrapped up in other things to notice.
    I know I’m going on and on now, but the moral of that story was exactly that- over-thinking can create problems that aren’t even there to begin with. So, I had moved on from the friend thing and had applied to several Universities in Ireland and abroad. I was pretty much desperate to get back to some form of Education, maybe due to the fact that day in day out at work I had been treated like I was an idiot who could not understand directions.
    Graduation, the day I had been dreading for so long arrived. I hadn’t see Le-Ex friends in months and months, and I had almost forgot how much tears I had shed over them until I was forced to sit beside them for the entire ceremony. I watched proud Parents standing up as their son or daughter was called, snapping pictures or cheering their name as the rest clapped and clapped. I cheered on all these other strangers too. I felt shame though, I wanted my Parents to be proud of me I guess. And that day in my heart of hearts I knew they were not, I still hadn’t that regained that ‘confidence’ I’d lost, I wasn’t as lively and beeming like some of my other peers and the few classmates that I was graduated with (It was a group of 15, so naturally enough it was hard to avoid some people!), and I knew they were not too thrilled with my current job title, but I tried to push all this down and get through the ceremony without crying. Even the the ending speech was very Gilmore Girls!
    It was a sad day and it kind of broke my heart in so many ways I can’t really explain. And it was also kind of sad that in the end, one of the girls’ who had essentially sparked that whole feud turned to me and said ‘Thank F- that’s all over’ with almost a smile as if nothing had ever happened… Even though we would never probably see each other again let alone be friends.
    Although I still had so much hope for my own future, the way Ireland despaired almost daily due to lack of jobs was disheartening. Ironically, that very day there was an announcement on the radio saying this year alone Ireland has seen an increase in the numbers of emigration between the ages of 18-30.
    I kept on wondering that day and after ‘why did we bother’, what good was that piece of parchment? is anyone really happy? etc. Just non serious stuff, right.
    And then I just wanted to get away from Ireland. And my Parents and home-town for a while. My cousin in Australia was an example I kept throwing out at anyone who would listen. Although he had finished University and went travelling with a friend. I had not that option. So the plan was in motion. I would travel to University somewhere further away that coming autumn come hell or highwater.
    2013 was rough but after my next door neighbours’ house was burgled one summer evening, something else weird started happening. To try and shorten this really long boring story.. I became a nervous wreck, worrying about every weird sound/car/noise in the garden, any-time our dogs would bark. Everyone in the area was on alert but apparently mine was far from the norm. I was sent to my GP after a few weeks of this extended anxiety and diagnosed with what he called ‘mild OCD’. Something still to this day my mother thinks is just another term for ‘depression’. The anxiety continued after my friend and I were in a minor car accident- her car was a total wreck even though we didn’t even have a single scratch I couldn’t get into a car without a complete panic attack. I was a wreck and you guessed it, sent to a local therapist. And I think it was ‘rock bottom’ sitting there with a stranger face to face. It isn’t as easy to be so open when you’re not online. That whole summer involved various ‘exercises’ and ‘sessions’ with her all in the lead up to September when I would finally depart the monotony of what my life at home had become. I hated how worried I’d made my parents, they had their own health issues and I’d been squandering their cash on this fancy pants shrink who yes helped but was she really necessary? I kind of felt worse and worse as the weeks went on and we ‘delved deeper’ and came to the conclusion the less said- for me- the better. I know I must sound like a complete whack job now and I know this has went much longer than intended.. so I will try to wrap it up.
    My excitement for leaving the country was kind of overshadowed by the anxiety and gnawing sense of ‘failure’ in life I felt.I had read many times it is normal to not ‘figure it out in your twenties’ but all the other twenties people around me seemed to be getting on just fine?
    When it came time to leave, I did not feel even the slightest bit ready but I knew I had to do it. The going away party my family and friends threw was lovely and although lots of people told me I didn’t need to ‘run off’, I kind of needed to and couldn’t explain why. Quite like my cousin who found himself in Australia and fell in love, I hoped the UK would be good to me. So, off I went with my suitcase and sister to load the Ryanair flight. Downing our fears with a quick vodka in the airport we set off. I told myself it was going to be good. And even if wasn’t, it was going to be OK. And leaving was not an option.
    My sister left on the Sunday and I moved into the University student residences and met my flat mates. Saying goodbye to my sister and watching her cry was probably one of the saddest moments. I attempted to ‘get involved’ socializing but from the moment my sister left I had this tightness in my chest that wouldn’t go away. It was like this hunger panging, this heartache almost. And I knew it was ‘normal’ (OK, I googled homesickness one night while crying to really pathetic sad music), but it didn’t really let up
    .
    V, like you said in your post, you felt ‘Australia was against you’.
    Well, it definitely felt like it was Me VS the UK for sure. And although my anxiety for OCD/ little things had all but vanished- thanks in part to my wonderful therapist I had said my goodbyes to back home, I found myself filled with a strange kind of sadness that I’d never felt before. Everything I’d hated about Ireland I suddenly missed? The rain. The complaining. The conversations in the shopping queue. The small talk.
    Most students around me were fresh faced and somewhat younger.. all new to the whole thing, whereas for me it was my second time as a Fresher. * What am I doing here? WHY am I here? This is a bad idea. This is a waste of time. You’re too old! Oh god this is so stupid. I’m miles from home and I don’t even know a single soul.* Pretty much sums it up. Although two of my housemates are also ladies in their twenties, it is still their first time in Uni.

    I plodded on. Tried to get used to trains/tubes/sterling/new location/accents.. All of which still perplexes me even though I try my hardest to ‘get on with it’. Homesickness dissolved me to a blubbering mess in September alone- anyone else find themselves wandering a busy place and suddenly feeling more alone than ever before? Even in a freaking grocery store I get that feeling now. I was close to tears on many occasions- and over the stupidest things, too. One time a lovely British lady at the grocery till told me in the nicest way possible that my Irish card was not accepted and I felt my eyes watering. I had to leave all the shopping, I muttered ‘Sorry.. Sorry. I’m just having a really hard time in this country’. And it was almost comical how pathetic I was. I once had a call from my mother on the train and was in floods of tears despite being surrounded by very smart looking business men. Lectures were another story. I liked the British accent. And I attempted to mix with the 17/18 year olds in my class. I kind of didn’t care if I made friends this time round, but it would have been nice to have someone to stick by those first few weeks.

    Although I liked the British, every time I heard an Irish accent I either began a conversation with that person, or felt my heart pang once again. Funnily enough, in the apartment right across from us those first few weeks there was an Irish girl named Grainne. She was lovely but she dropped out as she missed Ireland too much. The day she left I started having the ‘urges’ to go home too but for so many reasons that was not an option for me. I hadn’t exactly made the best shot of it at home, had I? This was my shot here so I thought. But I was messing that up fairly well too.
    As for socializing, as an Irish girl, back home I could drink anyone under the table easily. Here, I felt almost ‘over’ the entire thing. Maybe it was just my mood or maybe it was just that I was over it all? I could get into it in the right atmosphere but the whole -everyone else is here for the first time as a student- thing made me feel like an alien freak. Been there, done that, et al.
    Then in early October, I was sick. Not so sick I was dying but I had stay in Hospital for a few nights for tests- twice in two weeks for entire weekends. Stomach related but no operations were performed and everything was minor, thankfully. Despite being prone to health worrying I was relatively calm and just wanted to feel better and not have it be something that could kill me? .The Doctors/Nurses were beyond helpful and time away from the lonely apartment was almost like a break for me? Except it was missing one thing and that was people from home. Of course, they called every day and were concerned unnecessarily but it wasn’t the same and although I would never expect them to drop their busy lives just for me -I wish there was some way I could have teleported myself to them. I was given a week out of Uni when I was released which soon became two weeks as I had no energy or will to go in and I suppose those first few weeks are vital for ‘cliques’ and how they form. I caught up online on notes etc so that wasn’t really an issue but everything else felt sort of weird. Anyway, one of the Docs at the hospital- a really lovely elderly man one day checked my chart and gave me the all clear ‘bloods show no appendix, or gall stones or kidney stones, don’t you worry yourself, Saoirse. I bet all you’re sick for is the Emerald Isle’. HOW COULD A COMPLETE AN UTTER STRANGER EVEN KNOW HOW MUCH I MISSED HOME? It was weird.
    Ever since my health has been hit and miss. I’m still on various tablets to help with cramps and occasionally I still worry something will burst and I will die without saying goodbye to my precious doggies- one of which recently had puppies- at home,stupid crap like that. I just feel so utterly alone, and useless and scared. And more vulnerable than ever. I thought this was going to be the best time, maybe i’m not trying hard enough? or maybe it’s not right for me? and although in some ways I know it has made me brave, in other ways it has made me so weak. I’ve not been ok here. Not a day goes by that I don’t at least want to cry. I’ve turned into the kind of person I don’t want to be, if I’m not annoyed over transport or money or something British, I’m sitting in my bedroom trying to pretend everything is peachy and that I don’t hate every second here. The two Girls in my flat are completely bonded together now and I feel like a gooseberry (my fault, I know, but I can’t muster the energy anymore to care) and although they cared for me after the Hospital stuff, I know they’re living it up like all the other students and have had enough of my ‘I miss home’ saga. Naturally enough, as this is their own country, they don’t miss home. And I would obviously be the exact same if I was back in Ireland, I’d never miss home because it would always be an option just to go home on the next bus, that’s why Grainne went home. If you got sick or worse, your Family are only a few hours away by car..but then I think that, well, you’re Family aren’t always going to be there anyway, right? You’re an adult now, in so many words. Not a kid. You can’t have your hand held anymore. As a twenty one year old, I feel more lost than I did at nineteen, more saddened by stuff in the world that previously I was too positive to be noticing. Far less equipped to deal with almost anything and far far less fun than I was the first time I was a freshman. And it is all my own doing, obviously. And that’s what kills me. My younger Sister who has been my rock almost for many years- cries on the phone to me almost weekly that she wants me to just come home, that I’ve ‘given it a chance’ and that it’ll be OK. But even my own Father said these words a few weeks ago to me and this is what sticks with me ‘You’re not happy there, and you’re not happy at home. I don’t know what we’re going to do with you at all, love’. It keeps playing in my head any time I have even a minor mishap such as the wrong change for the bus or try and get into the culture and spirit of the UK only to realize it is the exact opposite of what I’d imagined it would be.
    I don’t even know if this makes any sense, or if anyone has managed to read all this. I just wanted to tell someone. Anyone. And it kind of helps me feel less alone. I have no idea what to do now. I like the course here, but that is where it begins and ends.

    Ireland is literally calling to me just like the UK was before I got here. It is pathetic really. I wish I could do this course at home I still have the option of doing so, but it would mean another wait- AND MORE money that isn’t mine and that my Parents are already forking out for my Sisters and it would- like another poster said- mean failure.
    If I go home AGAIN, I think that would kill me the most, I would probably regret it for the rest of my life? Or feel even more ashamed of myself for just giving up? But here my health- even physically, has been at its worst of all. I’m struggling to even eat at all because my appetite is gone and my stomach is not right. I’m forcing myself to attend all my lectures again because some days I find myself stuck to bed and the safety of the small dorm room. I know you can’t tell me what to do. I’m asking you, what would YOU do? I probably brought up the ‘past’ far too much in this long boring story, and I know it doesn’t really matter, but I just wanted to add it in so you’d know the weight of my staying/going from here. The only thing getting me through is knowing this semester is almost over, and that in a weekend or so I will be visiting my friend in Dublin for her Birthday weekend. I think though, if I land at home I won’t want to get back on a plane to come here.
    Advice/sage wisdom/a kick up the behind is very much welcomed.
    S.

    • says

      OK, sweet girl, now I know what you meant in your other comments when you wrote that you accidentally posted three million essays! I thought, HUH?! But now I’ve found your essays in the spam box and rescued the edited one. And I’m just replying to you quickly so you get the email that I DID get your comment and I DID read it! So expect my proper response shortly…

    • says

      Saoirse,

      I’m taking a deep breath after reading your comment. I want you to take one too. Thank you for taking the time to write about your feelings, past and present. It does help me understand your situation better. You know, I am not a doctor, or a therapist, or a specialist in this stuff. And I also wasn’t an especially successful expat. But being someone who has experienced severe homesickness, I feel like I can really identify and that allows me to help my hubby who is now an expat himself, and maybe help you with my words from across the pond.

      The way I’m going to respond is pull a few of your more poignant sentences into this comment, and go from there. There is so much to be said.

      BUT FIRST.
      Pat yourself on the back, my dear. Because you DID finish your two-year course, in spite of those b*tches. And you did get accepted in the UK, and you packed and you left, and that takes courage and smarts and independence. So, YAY, you! I want you to think about all you have achieved at the tender age of 21. My God. I am not being condescending, but you are just so young, and you cannot possibly expect to have your life’s path set, though you have so much of life sussed out! I’m 41 and still trying to get my life together! So be proud of yourself. I’m proud of you, and I don’t even know you.

      Let us commence…

      “And it was also kind of sad that in the end, one of the girls’ who had essentially sparked that whole feud turned to me and said ‘Thank F- that’s all over’ with almost a smile as if nothing had ever happened.”
      I had a very, very good friend really open up on me when I was at my lowest point of homesickness, and in Australia. She told me, among other choice things, to not talk to her again until I “get my whiny s*** together” and to “f*** off for good measure.” How about that? Nice, huh? So why am I telling you this? Because real friends don’t do that, and most people eventually realize THEY were the ones who were jerks, but much too late. I’ve had many women come and go in my life. The one who wrote the things above has tried to contact me three times in the last year, to “talk.” Uh, FOUR YEARS LATER?! I don’t think so. Who needs “friends” like her?

      When people are nasty to me I just tell myself this: It’s THEIR sin, not mine. The betrayal is painful, but trust me…karma has a way of working things out.

      “That weird almost epiphany like moment hit me at the weirdest time, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing a toilet as the duty manager shouted instructions at me from the door, I realized I had done this to myself. I had the power to fix things, I had the power to turn this thing around, and I had essentially thrown my life down that same toilet over some girls who in the end were not worth the contents found in that same toilet I had to clean.”

      Yes, yes, YES! This is all you really need to know in life, that you have the power! You went on to say that you turned things around and didn’t consider the job an embarrassment. I don’t think we should ever judge anyone who is actually working for a living instead of mooching off others.

      I want you to harness that power again, because you have another goal in front of you. You wanted out of Ireland (your goal then), and University was your ticket out. Now your goal is to go back to Ireland, and your ticket is your University degree. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but I do believe from all you wrote that achieving this goal is very important not only for your self-esteem and well-being, but for your future. A Uni degree is so important, especially for women.

      Write down what you want.
      I know you read the comment I wrote to Dean above, and his response, since you also commented on it. Writing down your goals is a powerful tool for achieving them. What do you really want? The degree? Happiness? Love? A fulfilling career? Ireland? An apartment? Tell the universe what you want!

      Now get moving.
      It’s OK to cry, to miss home, to long for it. And the tears are equal opportunity, I know. Once I was in the doctor’s office in Sydney, waiting to see the doctor. My husband was right there with me to hold my hand through it. But all I could do was cry, because I felt so confused by the system, like a fish out of water. There is no rhyme or reason, but it’s OK and it’s normal to cry at the oddest times, and as women, especially out of frustration. It’s typical, and it does get better over time, I promise.

      But eventually you have to get out there, beyond your room and Uni, and do something. Sometimes the only way to manage the emotional roller coaster that is homesickness is to ration it out to yourself. Tell yourself you’re allowed 1 hour of the day to grieve, email, call home, miss friends, cry, text, etc. Then set a daily goal for the other waking hours of your day. Maybe it’s exploring a new market. Going to dinner with your flatmates. Trying a new recipe. Going to a museum. Taking a walk. Doing an exercise routine or DVD. Volunteering. Throw yourself into your studies and lots of other distractions. It helps a LOT!

      “But even my own Father said these words a few weeks ago to me and this is what sticks with me ‘You’re not happy there, and you’re not happy at home. I don’t know what we’re going to do with you at all, love’”.
      It’s human nature to always, always think the grass is greener on the other side. Really, it’s about the same. When my husband gets frustrated with America, I kind of have to do the same thing, remind him that when he was in Oz doing different work, he didn’t like it that much either. He’s come to realize that life is just going on as normal there, uneventful, even. His friends are doing the same old thing, while HE’S the one on the adventure. Sometimes you have to change your perspective to appreciate it. It’s not easy, I know. But remind yourself that this is temporary! You didn’t marry someone and are stuck there forever! You’re in Uni, and your course will eventually finish, and you WILL go home, goals completed, degree in hand, smarter, and more worldly and fabulous than ever!

      I hope that some of this will help you get your perspective and charge forward with the rest of the semester. I think you have a good head on your shoulders, a wonderful family to support you, and the will and ability to be and do whatever you set your mind to.

      Please let me know how you are. I wish you the very best, and hope that the clouds that always seem to be overhead will give way to beautiful light and happiness and comfort for you! Just tell the universe that that’s the way you want it!

      xo

      • Saoirse says

        The response has been sitting in my email with a few days, I had almost been afraid to open it.

        Thank you firstly for not only replying/reading that late night rambling, but for giving such a long lengthy reply with your own insight/ advice, honestly you are too kind and an amazing person to do these things on your blog post! Even to have someone say they’re proud of you when you feel like the biggest failure, its kind of lovely so thank you for placating me, haha.

        I wanted to laugh when you said about being 21. I feel about 91 at times to be honest.. I wouldn’t put it in those terms, but thank you. And as for what you said about yourself- I truly think nobody has it all figured out. And that’s probably the beauty of it, when you’re not trying to figure things out but just enjoying what comes your way.

        In regards to this post on homesickness, it was such a reassuring thing to read that it can cause so many things- not just emotionally but physically- the post about hair loss was an example of such! I guess it is similar because you wanted to go home but didn’t want to ‘fail’ where you had moved to, and so you brought on stress to yourself needlessly but you did the right thing in the end. Don’t they say if it doesn’t feel right to not do something? Hmm.

        I’m sorry about your ex ‘friend’ but I think you had a lucky escape there. Anyone who doesn’t want to be there for you when you need them probably isn’t worth hanging around for and to even say ‘f off for good measure’ to someone- especially when you were at your lowest is almost laughable. I bet at the time it was hurtful but now you know better, so many times I wish I could have went back and kicked myself for getting hurt by ‘friends’ to be honest. The fact that your old pal kicked you when you were down is lousy but perhaps she thought her way of ‘helping’ you was going to work. Either way I’m so glad you haven’t responded to her.

        I’m embarrassed at how long even my extracts are that you posted, oh god. I should have put a tl:dr I’m homesick. As for that job I took up in my little gap from studies, yeah it wasn’t ideal, and my CV had other experiences but the job situation in Ireland alone was dire, and I was almost Zombie-like back then that anything was better than sitting at home getting worse.

        ‘Now your goal is to go back to Ireland, and your ticket is your University degree. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but I do believe from all you wrote that’

        Thank you, V. There’s no doubt I want to finish my education asap and the Uni studies are basically expanding on experience I already have, so whatever the decision I will still complete that degree be it in Ireland or England. As for the completing it here- I would love to believe I can turn things around here.. I still feel like it isn’t ‘right’ or that the grass is greener and all that. Like remaining in a relationship even though you’ve tried to make things work, even though you can see the exit you’re scared of the repercussions. I guess if I remain I would feel like ‘yay, I stuck it out’ and I wouldn’t be at home months down the line thinking ‘WHY DID I COME HOME AGAIN?’, but I don’t know. I will consider your advice, but that is kind of what my ‘heart’ says.

        Eh, ‘All those things, Universe’. I like to believe ‘things happen’ when you put that energy out there, and sometimes it’s true- when you’re positive things do genuinely start happening but I also know the opposite can be true too, sometimes even the best people have it hard and crappy and I guess the universe isn’t exactly as fantastic as we sometimes hope.. but instead of disregarding that comment, I’ll try!

        Yes, to the getting out there part. It’s obvious and you’re right. And the fish out of water, know that feeling, and hospitals away from home are terrifying, I’m surprised I didn’t cry to be honest (even though it was a minor medical thing), so you were right to do so.. but I get what you’re saying. I’ve actually been meaning to re-join an exercise class over here, after a few weeks of ‘rest’ per my docs request, being lazy is never an excuse. And the exercise alone really does improve on any sadness be it homesickness or otherwise.

        For a while there I honestly didn’t even want to get out of bed to attend lectures, it was kind of pathetic and I got a telling off from my head lecturer who only really was concerned for my well being- and I had given her good reason to be I guess. Since then I try not to miss any important lectures and through them I am getting to know a small group in my class, so it’s nice.
        So you’re right, throwing yourself into studies/work/whatever you’re away for definitely helps, it kind of helps to remind you why you’re actually there and what you want to achieve by it- money/a degree/etc, the rest really is irrelevant and I’m smart enough to know that but sometimes that little homesickness bug defeats me- as you probably already read.

        Thanks for that list though. I will push myself to actually remember it and not be wallowing. I honestly do appreciate all the things you’ve said. And have so many other things I could write but this is already far too long so just a thanks will have to do.

  61. Shannon says

    Hey there,

    I know this is an old post but I hope that you’re still active. My partner and I recently moved out from my parents house after 2.5 years of living together and i’m struggling after half a week. We’re only 10 minutes away but it just feels incredibly weird without family around. Is it normal to take time to adjust? I moved to Sydney for a year from Melbourne and didn’t even find it this hard.

    • says

      Hi Shannon,

      Thanks for your comment. I am still active!

      Having had to log some time in the same situation myself, I felt the same way. We moved only five miles away, and the first night or two, I had a lot of anxiety. I felt like something was missing. But then we settled in and the privacy and order we rediscovered were glorious.

      Give it a little time. You will adjust and will be fine. Moving anywhere after being in a place for a couple years always takes adjustment. I remember feeling regret and emptiness the first month I bought my home (my parents moved in with me later, while I was going through a divorce), but it did dissipate as well.

      You’ll be fine, I promise! That proximity is really the very best of both worlds!

  62. Kristan says

    Ive been homesick since i was a kid, i could never stay out as my parents had to come get me a 1am, im 20 years old and i still have it, im wanting to go away on holiday this year, im worried that ill get to the place and want to come straight home? what shall i do? is there any medication i can take?

    • says

      Hi Kristan, thanks for your comment. Have you considered talking to someone about your homesickness? It sounds like separation anxiety of a sort, rather than homesickness. I would try to talk to a professional about it if I were you. As far as going on holiday and wanting to come home…well, the point of going on holiday is to see somewhere you want to see that isn’t like home, to explore. On holiday, your days and nights should be filled with fun, doing whatever makes you happy. It’s a temporary absence from home…remember that! Only a few weeks, if you are lucky.

  63. Rihaan says

    I have moved to New Zealand from South Pacific to build my career and life but I dont know why I always miss things back home. I had a good life there with everything but now after moving eventhough I have a job and life is going but I still miss my country, family and life. It has been 9 months. I miss the life which I had. I always think that I was better there since I had a higer ranked job, easy lifestyle etc. Sometimes I get motivated I tell myself I have made the right decision to grow. I am here for my family and myself so we have a better life when I settle but sometimes I regret being here. I actually dont know what I want to do. I worked hard to build myself and now am feeling low sometimes. Am 28 years old but I dont want to live this regretful life, I want to get my motivation back and strive. Please advise me what should I do

    Thanks

    • says

      Hi there, so sorry to read how difficult you are finding things. I recommend that you read through the many comments on this post, and my responses, and you will see you are not alone. You will also be able to read what I’ve written to others who feel the same way. Remember, only you can decide what makes you truly happy. But do know that it takes time…years…for a new country to begin to feel “normal” to you.

      Best of luck to you!

      • klara says

        Like so many others, ive found my way to this blog beacuse of homesickness.
        I moved from sweden to South africa a month ago now and The sadness is beginning to Take hold of me. Its gotten to a point were i almost Cant do my job properly and i feel like such a failure. The idea is to only be away for a year, But right know.. A year seems to long

  64. klara says

    All of my colleags at work likes to drink and party on their days of.. And i feel so lonley cause i just Dont want to drink all The time.. Im only 25 years old, But i feel like 60.. I Dont want to feel like this for a year. Im really lost right now.. Nothing is fun anymore. Ive read through all of The previous posts and it helps a little to know that you are not alone.. But many Times, all you just want is a hug from someone close to you.

  65. Elinor says

    I really liked reading this.
    I’ve had to deal with homesickness my whole life. I’m from the UK but due to my father’s job, my family has been moving from country to country since I was roughly 6 years old.
    About 2 years ago I moved to Sydney and it was wonderful. The people were so friendly and I made the best group of friends I had ever done in my life. The homesickness was no where to be found.
    Unfortunately last June my dad’s job yet again forced my family to move to Adelaide, the homesickness started again and it’s gotten worst. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even interact with people like I used to and want nothing more than to move back to the UK because most of my family is there.
    I talk to them over skype now but even though it gives me a good amount of happiness to hear the people I love, I fall into some sort of depression state where I keep crying for the next few days (even as I’m typing this I’m crying slightly because of a skype call with my beloved aunt).

  66. Jenna says

    I’m in a situation a bit different from most of the others. I am American, my husband is German, and we moved from NYC to Germany about a year ago to put our kids in school here. I have lived here in the same city before for several years, and I thought when we made the decision to move back here that it was right for me. But now here I am, almost a year in, sad and questioning where to live once again. It seems that after all is said and done, I’d rather my kids grow up with the resources we had access to in NYC instead of this (lovely) city we’re living in now.

    I’ve been through this before (and am pushing 40 and not naive about this sort of thing! and I’ve been working on all the practical things necessary to feel at home, but it’s a slow process to make new friends) :) but have found it much more challenging to live here than we had hoped it would be this time around. The school situation for my kids has been less than ideal, despite the reputation of German schools for being so excellent. My kids both have health problems that require a tremendous amount of time to take care of, and the resources we had access to in NYC were far superior and gave me a huge break, whereas here it’s like going uphill both ways, frankly. And yet our lives are less complicated here in many ways, it’s safer, and of course there are other practical reasons why we chose to come here, including financial ones I don’t yet have a solution for (but will within a year or two). It was a tough decision to move here, and yet I know where I’d rather be. My husband feels the same way but is pragmatic and frankly annoyed that I am having these thoughts because we had planned this move to be permanent.

    But in my heart, at the end of the day, exhausted from caring for my kids and finding that it’s harder here (and will always be due to cultural differences that won’t change) to take care of my kids, I just frankly want to go home.

    Anyhow, I have a life here, I’ve done all the things you’re supposed to do, and yet the longer I’m here the more I want to be where my heart tells me is home. Perhaps that isn’t the same as homesickness, but an intuitive sense of what the heart wants. I know you can’t dole out advice that will solve my problems :) but it is nice to know that there’s someone else out there who has been there and considered these issues. So thank you for your post and your honesty. I found it vastly comforting on a day when I’m struggling with these big feelings.

    • says

      Hi Jenna,

      You are in a tough spot, and I really feel for you. I’m glad that you found some comfort here, knowing that you are not alone in your feelings, and that they are normal.

      I think the only thing you can do is try to stay busy while your children are in school, and perhaps plan a nice holiday in the US over the summer if possible. And then over time, you will know better about whether you need to try come up with a plan B or not.

      Good luck to you my dear…sending you positive energy and peace from over here in the U.S. :)

  67. lala in india says

    Hi
    am a 27 year old lady from uganda. I came to india 6 months ago, but its the hardeat thing I have had to deal wih so far.
    the culture, the food, the racism, the dirt, the weather shocked me so much when I had just arrived but after 2 to 3 weeks
    I kind of adjusted a bit. Now t has been 6 months and iam back to depression. I wake up every morning n subconsciously tears roll down my face. I have one friend who is my housemate but we have even run out of conversation. No activity, and worst of all I still have 1 and ahalf more years untillbi finish school. I also cannot afford a ticket during summer break. I have to drag myself through the day literally. Iam really depressed I feel like I cannot go on anymore.
    The only time iam at peace, is when iam asleep so I feel like sleeping for hours just to avoid the pain and agony yet I dont have that much sleep. Even during the night when I turn, I end up waking up with a racing heart and the thought that ýiam in india.
    all I think about is the day il have my bags packed at the airport and how long I have to get to that moment.

    its so bad that I have thought about quitting school but it shouldnt be a possibility so am still hanging on hoping for a day when il not feel like my heart z going to jump out of my chest or when il not have to cry. How do I move from this pain and how do I avoid the rhough of having to hustle through all thia time till 2015? Iam drowning in sadness.

    • elisabeth says

      hm i cant seem to find any dates on the thread so am not sure how old it is… but i am going to add my comment anyway and i would love a reply (-: i am 26yrs old, i came to Australia when i was 18. the first 3 years i did not experience much homesickness at all, I’ve always wanted to move abroad, ever since i was a little girl. not sure why, but that’s how it is. my (Australian) husband and i had our first child 2009, so when i was 21. our daughter was born 2 years after that. we have recently bought our own home, have a beautiful family and i keep telling myself that i should be a very happy women! but i am missing my family “back home” more and more every day, and both times that we went over for a visit (3 months each time) i didn’t even want to leave again. ofcourse that wasn’t an option as my husband does not have dual citizenship and doesn’t speak the language and everything over here is just so much better. i keep telling myself that i have to be reasonable and i know that Australia can offer my children a much better future. many years ago someone told me that once you move abroad, start a new life and a family of your own, you will always live “between” both worlds. your “home”/birth country and your new home. when you’re here you will want to go there and the other way around. i didn’t understand that then. but now i know its very true and it is something one has to deal with, no matter how hard it is. both countries are my home now and i am still waiting and hoping for the moment when the “home sickness” goes away. my children are growing up bilingual and i teach them as much as possible about their heritage. Skype is a big help and i don’t know what i would do without it.
      i think for everyone who is abroad temporarily, keep your heads up and embrace the new cultures, experiences and life. it is not forever and your time abroad will widen your horizon, open your eyes and teach you to appreciate your own family, friends and familiar environment more. and if things get bad, just remind yourself that soon enough you will be home again, a year passes by pretty quickly if you keep yourself busy!
      and for those who are building their future in a different country, find some people that you can share your culture with, try and embrace the fact that you now have two home countries, put it in a blender and mix it up, find your own mixture of both cultures that makes you happy! teach your family and friends about your birth country and they will learn to understand you better and appreciate your decisions, responses and way of life. don’t be embarrassed about anything and don’t give a damn about racism or hurtful comments (i received plenty of them over the last 8 years). blessings to you all!

  68. Mary Byrne says

    Moving to Australia alone at 40 – is it a bad move to give up life at home and move? Read all the home sickness comments and am terrified.

    Please offer advice

    • says

      Hi Mary,

      There are a lot of factors to consider, carefully, before moving. Where are you moving from? Have you been to Australia before? Will you have a job already lined up? Do you know anyone there? Have you lived on your own before? Have you moved overseas before? Are you really close to your family? Are you leaving a special someone behind? Are you leaving pets behind?

      Let me know a little about you and I can tell you what I perceive to be potential issues to consider.

  69. Mary says

    Moving from Ireland. I studied in UK for 3 years. I travelled to Australia on WHV in 2000 and to New Zealand on WHV in 2005. This time relocation is to Adelaide – never been to Adelaide so I done a 2 week recce. I liked it but I have huge decision to make. I am in a bad rut at home. Do I stay at home and try to change everything there or do I go to Australia for the experience and for a clean start. Although I don’t see myself settling for good there – although you don’t know what might happen. So then I may face coming back at 42 to forge a career in Ireland. I will probably lose a lot of my savings setting up in Aus. I do not have a job or accom lined up nor do I really have anyone there apart form a few people I befriended on various forums before I wen on recce.

    I need to make my mind up over weekend because of my job here and I need to be in Adelaide mid as per condition of visa.

    I fear not going because not everyone gets a visa and it may be my last opportunity plus if I stay here will I continue to plod along as it’s east and comfortable and wake up again in 10 years panicking.

    My dream was always to go to Australia but it was 6 yrs ago that I applied and am a lot older now.

    Am I seeing Ireland as ok now because I am faced with decision and will I go back to not wanting to be here once the date for my arrival passes.

    I need some advice

    • says

      Hi there!

      OK, so you’ve done expat life before, and have lived in other countries a few times. That’s good. You know a little of what to expect.

      I find it interesting, however, that you have not chosen Sydney or Melbourne. I know Melbourne is very similar to Europe, and is a thriving city…you would probably transition there quite well. Before making your decision, do consider the ease of getting flights in and out in there event that you have to go home in an emergency, or would like to have family from home come visit you. Also, you must consider job opportunities…are there plenty in Adelaide?

      If this is something you really want to do, you definitely should, but keep in mind that Australia is one of the most expensive countries in the world. So you will likely burn through your savings, and yes, if it’s just temporary, you will find yourself back at home, and back at square one. BUT if you have family that can support you in the even of a return, that’s not a big deal.

      Ultimately, it sounds like this is something you should explore, because it means so much to you. I’d do as much legwork as possible to line up employment as fast as possible. Homesickness tends to really hit hard when you are idle, and you tend to get more stressed as you watch your savings dwindle a little every day. Just get your ducks in a row and give it a try! You can ALWAYS go home. But you never want that regret of not trying at all. Hey, I did it too. No matter whether you fall in love with your new country (I hope) or feel like it’s not for you, you will at least have answered that question.

      Good luck! You’ll be fine. It’s a great adventure!

  70. Tracey Thurman says

    Hello, I am also very homesick. I have lived in Houston my whole life. My husband of 15 years found a job in North Carolina since his position was eliminated at his current job. I was ok with moving at first but when it hit me I told him I didn’t think I could leave my sister. She is 2 years older than me and the only sibling I have. Our parents passed away when we were younger. After much urging on his part, I agreed to “try it out” for a year. It’s been 6 months and I want to cry everyday. I miss Houston and my family and friends so much. November will be the 1 year mark and I’m not sure if my feelings will change. I will feel like crap and a failure to him but the thought of living that far from my sister really frightens me. We have a 10 year old and 2 year old. Our 10 year old was not happy about the move and wants to go back as well. Our 2 year old obviously doesn’t care. Lol I hope that we can talk about it in November and all agree on what’s best.

    • says

      Hi Tracey, so sorry you are missing home. Not sure where you are in NC, but that’s where I grew up and live…I love it. But that just goes to show you that the comfort of “home” is very different for everyone!

      Unfortunately, at six months in, you are still very much in the throes of homesickness. It honestly takes years to really assimilate, but the clouds DO lift and the pangs for home do subside over time. My husband is going on his fourth year here in the U.S., and he still has periods of homesickness now and again.

      Also, you should NEVER feel like a failure! You moved and tried…that’s not failure! It will take all of you some time to adjust. I’m not sure if you are in Raleigh or Charlotte, or where you are, but I will tell you that nearly all transplants who arrive in NC come to really love it. Been here my whole life and now everyone is NOT from here, but they love the four seasons, cleanliness, low cost of living, and freedoms NC affords. Give it a little time, try to enjoy your first spring and summer here.

      Good luck!

  71. divya says

    hie !
    I actualy hail frm india and am interested in doing my bachelors in canada as I did get my admission in it , I hav dreamt of it for many years but now dat i have got a chance am scared as hell ! I Really am afraid dat i would go into depression because of this homesicness :(
    YES its obious dat any one would get homesickas it is a new place , but am scared dat wil i get over it ? we really can get over it right ?
    It would be really glad if u could reply to my comment
    ty

    • says

      Hi Divya,

      Homesickness does not last forever, though sometimes it feels that way. Think of all the millions of people who have moved to a new country…they don’t all go back “home”! It takes some time, but you do acclimate.

      Don’t be afraid of doing your studies in Canada. It’s a great opportunity and it’s only temporary. So you really get to experience the best of both worlds: live abroad in a beautiful country, improve your French and English, and then go back home. But my guess is that if you do choose to go to Canada to study, after four years of school, I’m betting you will stay. ;)

      Good luck, don’t be afraid!

      • Divya says

        aw <3 ty for d reply !
        Yes dis iz once in a life time opportunity and i dont wanna let it go . lot of my frends wanted to come along they arent . but as i did get dis opportunity ,i just cant pass it away
        I hope i become stong enough to take dis step and get to see a whole new world
        al def post a comment if i hav any doubts left
        ty :)

  72. says

    oh im so glad I found this page, ive been homesick for 6 whole months for my overseas studies and time isnt healing it either. Im just comforted that there are people who understands me here.

  73. Tara says

    Thank you for helping me to get my lovely partner back in my life. I am so blessed that you used a non forceful way of uniting and reuniting us. Our past, presence and future seems to have all merged into one. You told me that everyone has a compatible soul mate whether in their life or waiting to come into their lives. I am glad its my partner of old. I did not want to really go and be with someone else.. You have removed the extra baggage that has been affecting us and holding us back. Peace to you. Ominighospelltemple@gmail. com

  74. Louise says

    I moved from England to Australia 6 years ago and love it although I do get awful homesickness. I miss my family soo much and the thought of them getting old and me not being there to help really worries me. I don’t want to move back to England but at the moment I don’t know what to do. I just feel anxious all the time.
    My other half is from England but he does not get homesick at all and just wants to enjoy life here. He wants us to use our holidays to see Australia and other new countries but I would really like to visit home. The only trouble is the more I visit home or the more family come here to see me the worse my home sickness gets. I was feeling really settled over here but at the moment my family are visiting for a few months and its made my worries worse as I don’t want them to leave and am dreading the thought of when they do. Its really stopping me enjoying their time here properly.
    I know I will feel better but I don’t know how to deal with it at the moment. I don’t want to always be this way when people visit and when they leave.

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