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Homesickness when working abroad in the GCC

Published By  Abdullah | On 2017-06-29

When working for multinationals or seeking step up in your career, it is likely that you may be required to work overseas or may consider doing so yourself. Regardless of how you come to the decision, one thing is common; it's homesickness. Homesickness simply refers to the yearning for one's home country during a period of absence from it; either prolonged or otherwise.

This article focuses on recognizing the problem of homesickness and provides tips and steps for dealing with homesickness when moving countries. Note that these steps have not been arranged in any order of importance or even chronologically.

Step 1: Accept that it's normal
You must first understand and accept that it's perfectly normal to feel some form of nostalgia towards your previous country or home city. This is fine because after spending some time there, it is expected that you would miss all the connections you built over time not just with friends and family but also with your surroundings and the lifestyle you became used to.

Accepting that the way you feel is normal would also help you take active steps towards feeling better. This is essential because knowing a problem is a great step towards resolving it. If you need to speak to someone about how you feel, then do so and this may help you find relief and also learn to trust the new people around you.

Step 2: Avoid prolonged periods indoors.
Following this step is key to successfully dealing with homesickness when moving countries. It is important that you avoid isolating yourself indoors. This is essential because when you do, you allow your yearnings and emotions to grow more intense thus compounding the problem.

The simple solution to this is to do your best to live as you would normally do in your previous country. If there are interests you enjoyed keeping in your previous country, try to keep up with such interests in your new country. For instance, if you were a regular cyclist, make efforts to join a cycling club in your new country as this would help bring some much-needed familiarity into your life.

Also, avoid staying too long at the office simply because of fear of loneliness when you returned your new home. Attend both work and nonwork-related social events and make efforts to network with like-minded individuals in your new city.

Step 3:  Stay Positive
When you move to a new country, you're likely to make comparisons with the previous country and this hardly helps. To overcome homesickness, you'll need to accept that both countries are different and be positive about it. 

One of the reasons why people feel homesick is because of the identity and security they had in their previous country and to overcome this, you'll need to remain positive that whatever you had can be regained in your new country. By simply staying positive, you'd be making it a lot easier for others to interact with you. No one wants to be around a grumpy person so put on a smile and a friendly appearance and you'd be out of this in no time.

Step 4: Explore your new City
To reduce how much you miss your previous country, you will need to understand your current country better. You'll need to understand how your new country works and how much of it interests you. One way to understand a new city is by exploring its nooks and crannies. Instead of staying indoors, do your best to visit important features in the city. You can also visit popular tourist attractions and make an effort to learn about the history of the new country.

If you have the time, go on sightseeing tours and other similar events and platforms designed for tourists. Even though you're not a tourist, these programs and activities will help you quickly understand how things work and also get more familiar with your new city.

Step 5: Stay healthy 
Whilst adjusting to a new lifestyle, it is advisable to find ways to consistently live a healthy life. Avoid dwelling on the past and focus your mind on all that's in front of you. This would enable you to remain in good spirits as you make the transition to the new country and way of life mentally. Keep your mind active and busy as this is key to maintaining a healthy mental state and consequently a healthy life.

You should strive to take care of yourself through diet and exercise and keep those endorphins flowing. If you need to, register with a gym or join a cooking club, these activities will help take your mind off the things you miss most back in your home country and also further help you understand your new country. 

Step 6: Remain connected to your home city, but not overly attached
There is absolutely nothing wrong with keeping in touch with your loved ones back in your home country but doing this in excess will only make it harder for you to move on. It is a good thing to hold on to the wonderful moments created in the past but you need to pay more attention to the potential moments you can create going forward. 

You can solve this problem by reducing the amount of contact you keep with friends and family back home. You could reduce the frequency of contact from daily to every few days and eventually weekly and perhaps monthly. Finally, keep a routine contact period such as every last week of the month to place a video call or any other kind of long distance contact you usually have with loved ones. This will help you ensure that you remain connected but not overly attached as you deal with homesickness when moving countries.

Step 7: Make new friends and acquaintances 
This is one of the most important things to note whilst dealing with homesickness when moving countries. This is because solving this would help resolve the most fundamental cause of homesickness; lack of security and identity that was present in a previous country. Making new friends will lead to building new circles and this will eventually lead to building trusting relationships in your new country. Making new friends in when moving countries will help you feel more secure and also help you quickly find your feet on the ground in no time.

Get involved with colleagues at work and when there's an after-work social meeting, be the first to turn up. Get acquainted with everyone and be willing to lend a helping hand where necessary. Making new friends and acquaintances in your new country would generally help build your confidence and make you less dependent on your connections in your previous country. The best people to easily get acquainted with when moving countries are usually working colleagues who have great experience of living in the country and city. Don't be ashamed to ask for help from such colleagues and they can ultimately use their knowledge to help you save time, efforts and money as you initially try to adjust and settle.

Step 8: Develop new hobbies and routines 
In order to overcome homesickness by slightly letting go of your connection to your previous country, you'll need to be involved in activities that take your time and keep you engaged. Whether it's exercising in a gym, running around your neighborhood or simply joining a book club, developing new hobbies will help keep you focused and help you manage your emotions better.

Developing routines and scheduling your daily endeavors will also help you ensure there is no room for boring moments during the day that makes you constantly reflect on your home country. Once again, it's absolutely fine and normal to think and reflect upon moments from your previous country but avoid dwelling on such thoughts.

Most importantly, developing new routines in your new country will help provide structure especially to your after work life.

Step 9: Accept that it may take time to fully adjust
"Rome wasn't built in a day", accept that adjusting to your new environment isn't going to happen overnight. The steps mentioned in this article are aimed at helping you make the right decisions with regards to settling and dealing with homesickness when moving countries. Once you start to build familiar and trusting connections in your new country, it gets easier and you start to depend on these new connections for all manner of support.

Finally, settle in with style, and whatever you do, ensure you have fun in the process and within a short, while you'd be wishing you moved countries sooner.


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