| dealing with homesickness abroad

Monday, 29 June 2015

Alpe d'Huez France

Robbie Shade/Flickr

As great a time I've been having working in France, I've experienced large bouts of homesickness. For me, it's quite a new phenomenon, as I hardly ever miss home when I'm at university. This is probably due to the fact that I'm no longer living only an hour away from home! Since moving here I've really felt the distance from England.

It's a natural feeling, to miss home comforts and having that family presence near to you. It just can't be recreated with skype, no matter how long or personal your calls are. Being away from them has made me realise how lucky I am to have such a supportive and loyal family.

I've had mostly good days working here, however when I feel really low, I naturally crave the warmth I get from being around my family and my friends. I must say this week has generally had its low points, I've felt trapped and homesick at the same time. I seem to be recovering from this low mood but it doesn't hide the fact that Alpe d'Huez is very different from home. Its apparently common to go through a low point after the honeymoon period where everything about the country is new and exciting.

The key to maintaining this excitement? Trying to break up the routine. Alpe d'huez is SO small, so I'm always trying to find ways to do something different and exciting. This week, I climbed a mountain on a via ferrata, which is like a climbing wall but with iron steps all along it! I also played tennis at the sports centre, and some of my team went rafting. It's about finding the excitement in my surroundings, because this is one of the prettiest places I've ever been to for scenery!

Another way to deal with this is to talk to the people around you about it; a lesson I really need to learn myself. I finally opened up to my manager that I wasn't enjoying myself and she was surprisingly supportive, I feel a lot better now I've been honest. It's not healthy to store negative thoughts in your head constantly, which is what I was doing, and the release made the stress much more manageable.

I also took a huge folder with memories, letters, old photos which I've had with me since first year of uni. It's always so comforting to look through and feel close to my family, friends and my boyfriend. It reminds me how much they care and miss me back home. There are plenty more ways to manage homesickness, and I've come to accept that it will hit me from time to time, but I know that my mood will recover and I'll love being here again by keeping active and varying the routine to stop getting bored.

Thanks for reading! Have you gone abroad for a long time? How have you coped with homesickness?

The traffic jam of life

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