Experiencing homesickness or culture shock can be a challenging and uncomfortable experience. It can leave you feeling isolated and lonely, struggling to connect with others, particularly if you encounter a language barrier. I can relate to this experience, as I believe many expats have gone through something similar.
If you are feeling homesick right now, I’ll go over some ways you could soothe your homesickness while abroad. Let’s start by understanding the cause of these symptoms.
What causes homesickness?
Like many others, I used to believe that homesickness is solely associated with being physically separated from home, family, and familiar surroundings. However, as I gained more experience, I came to realize that it can also result from significant life changes that affect my emotional state.
Some other causes include:
A sudden change in your environment: Even a small change can make you feel uncomfortable, anxious, and disconnected as you struggle to adapt to new surroundings.
Feeling isolated or alone: Moving to another country is also one of the main causes of homesickness, since you are in a new city with no friends you can readily trust or rely on. When it comes to culture shock, you can feel like you do not belong, which can be a hard situation to work through.
Nostalgia: You may feel more disconnected in your new home and miss your comfort zone.
Pre-existing mental health condition: People who are diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions are more likely to feel homesick when moving or living aboard. So, if you are diagnosed with these symptoms, it’s better to consult with a doctor or a psychiatrist to work through it in the best way possible.
Once you know the underlying cause of homesickness, you can start from there and find ways to cope with it. Here are 5 ways to deal with it. Most of them are incredibly easy to follow and they personally worked for me.
5 ways to deal With homesickness when you are teaching in Thailand
As an expat in Thailand myself, I truly understand your feelings of isolation and loneliness after relocation. These 5 tips can help you get started on the journey of settling down in Thailand, so you feel less lonely as you adjust to your new home.
Talk to someone you trust
Moving to Thailand can be a challenging experience since there are probably quite a few differences between your culture and Thai culture, which is why culture shock is a common reaction for most expats.
If you find yourself struggling with homesickness while teaching in Thailand, you can talk to someone you trust to ease your transition. It could be one of your colleagues at the school or a new friend you made. If you're lucky, you may find that others are going through the same thing and can offer helpful tips for dealing with homesickness.
If you're uncomfortable talking to people you know, consider seeking professional help as another option. Thailand is known for its affordable medical care, and there are many international hospitals and clinics that offer mental health services.
Alternatively, you can contact The Samaritans of Thailand by dialing 02-113-6789 for a free consultation or a listening ear. You would be surprised how much it helps just to talk about what you are going through with someone.
Get involved in the expat community
One thing you need to know about Thailand is that there are a lot of thriving expat communities, especially in major cities such as Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai. Connecting with people from the expat community on Facebook groups is a great way to start because many of these groups organize regular meetups where you can connect with others and make new friends.
It can also be helpful to ask for advice or assistance in these groups, as expats are often eager to help newcomers adjust to life in Thailand.
Cook home meals
I know you are wondering how that is going to help you with being homesick but trust me, it can help you feel more at home because preparing a meal from home can bring back fond memories and a sense of belonging. Additionally, it is a fun and practical skill to learn!
You can try asking your family for their homemade recipes, and recreate those dishes in your new home in Thailand. This way, you can enjoy a taste of home whenever you want and you can share that with your new friends as well.
Find activities around your new home
Remember that you moved to Thailand for a reason, and part of that reason is to experience a new way of life. By exploring new places and activities, you can create new memories and feel more connected to your new home. You can just take a walk around your neighborhood, try new food, or visit parks and landmarks in your area. Immerse yourself in the local culture and experience everything that Thailand has to offer.
Give yourself time
Lastly, I realized I was too hard on myself when I first moved to Thailand. I expected that I would feel at home right away, but we all know it’s not that easy. It's important to remind yourself that it's okay to feel homesick or culture shock and that it's a normal part of the transition process.
Instead of focusing on the negatives, try to focus on the positives of your new environment. Giving yourself time to adjust to your new home in Thailand is essential. It's okay if you don't feel at home right away. Taking it one day at a time and enjoying the journey is the best way to do it!
It is important to remember that all of this is a normal feeling and that there are ways to cope with it. Just give yourself time to adjust, make new friends, and explore the city, and you will feel at home in no time.
If you are planning to move to teach in Thailand or you are already here, it is also recommended that you secure comprehensive expats health insurance. It can give you peace of mind knowing you have access to the best medical care overseas.
Get in touch!
If you are looking for expat medical insurance in Thailand, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or contact my team from Pacific Prime Thailand. They can help you secure the right policy for your needs and budget.