When you’re living abroad, feeling homesick is something normal to experience at one point or another. Some people experience it very early, some feel it a little later and others might not get homesick at all.
For me it happened on my first full day of work. I had just arrived at my host family about a week earlier. Even though I felt welcome in their home and had already met other au pairs in the area, everything was still new to me. It was a perfectly normal day when all of a sudden it hit me. This is what I would be doing and this is where I would be staying for a whole year.
Up to this moment the whole au pair thing felt kind of surreal but in that moment reality hit me like a ton of bricks. I locked myself in my room and completely broke down. That’s when the doubt came and I kept asking myself: Why on earth did I do this? How am I going to be able to go through a whole year of this? It was getting bad but there was one thought at the back of my mind that helped me get my act together. I am not alone!
What to do when you get homesick.
Everyone deals with homesickness in a different way. I want to share the top 3 things that always help me feel better.
- Talk to your host family. I imagine that this depends a lot on how your relationship with your host family is. I found that it really helped me. When I start feeling homesick around my host family, I talk about what my family and I used to do back home, tell stories of my childhood or just talk with them about anything and everything.
- Talk to friends and family back home. Now, this might help but it might not. I have found that when I am so homesick that all I want to do is cry and hide in my room. Talking to my loved ones back home only makes it worse. However, when I just feel a little homesick or just have a bad day in general and don’t necessarily feel homesick texting with my sister or calling my mom, even for just a few minutes, already brightens my day.
- Go out and explore. Honestly, sitting in the house will not help or at least it didn’t help me. Being an au pair is an incredible opportunity and you should make the most of it. So, go outside and explore the town or city you now live in. Reach out to other au pairs in the area. I’m sure there are some around and you can go do something together.
Homesickness can hit you at the most random times of the day and sometimes it hits you quite hard. And it can go and come back again. The most important thing to remember though is that you are not alone. There will always be people around you that you can turn to.
I started doubting my whole au pair experience because I was missing home. But now I am extending for another year because it was the best decision I ever made.