Travelling and working in a new country or province means you should be having the time of your life! It’s a new environment, you able to meet new people and make new friends, and there are hundreds of exciting new opportunities that await you.
One of the most difficult parts of moving away from home is making the four new walls around you feel like more than just a building. Homesickness can really put a damper on what should be a fun time.
Charlotte Quenet-Meintjes, head of Workaway International South Africa offers a handful of useful tips to ensure that you enjoy the opportunity of travelling and living abroad:
Stay in touch
Keeping in touch with your family and friends is easier than ever thanks to modern communication and social media. Chat to your loved ones who will be able to provide you with the necessary support, but make sure you don’t rely on them too much as you need to find a balance.
Document your trip
Keeping a daily diary is a great way to reflect on the things you have achieved and will remind you of great memories. Be sure to take lots of photos so that when you do get home, you can show your family and friends all your adventures.
The busier you are, the less time you have to be homesick. Always maintain a balance between keeping busy and relaxation time, but the more activities you are involved in, the less time you have to miss your loved ones back home.
Maintain a positive attitude and look after yourself
Staying positive and upbeat might not seem possible at times, but feeling sorry for yourself won’t make your time away any easier. Do things you enjoy doing, whether it is going for a run or watching your favourite movie – and don’t let homesickness get the better of you! Exercising regularly, eating well and getting enough sleep will also keep your health in top shape!
Get to know your environment
Living in a new place can seem very intimidating until you know your way around. Take some time to be a tourist in your new environment – find out as much as you can about the town, visit historical sites and find a new favourite restaurant.
Make your new house a home
Your surroundings will impact your happiness during your journey, and the level of comfort you have in your new living space will influence your attitude, behaviour and mood. This is the one place where you can feel completely at ease, and you should make it a true reflection of yourself. Here are five key ways to convert any new surrounding into a home:
Display family portraits
Include photos of close family members, your pets and dear friends that will serve as pleasant reminders of where you come from. This will make you feel closer to your loved ones, even though they may be thousands of miles away.
- ‘Liven up’ the place – Change the decor, add some colour, and even bring your bedding from your old room. All these things will make your new surroundings brighter and happier.
- Unpack properly – Upon arrival, unpack all your bags and boxes completely because living out of your luggage will mean you never really settle into your new surroundings.
- Spend time in it – You don’t always need to be out and about, so when your relaxation time comes around, spend some quality time in your new space which will bring you closer to it and make it feel more like a home.
- Add a personal touch – Your new surroundings should be a reflection of who you are as a person. Bring small memorabilia from home and display some proudly South African objects. This will make you appreciate where you come from and how you got where you are today.