During your internship abroad, homesickness is something that can suddenly hit you. Chances are an internship in New Zealand is hours and hours away from your hometown. Do not underestimate that but on the other hand, do not let it drive you crazy. See whether these tips can help you out.
Do not hide it – talk!
Almost everyone’s who’s been away from home for a couple months has faced homesickness. To be honest, if you’re not missing a single thing from home, it’s more worrying. The most important is to not deny you’re homesick but to face it. Talk about it with your roommates or other interns. Interns abroad are in particular great to have this conversation with as they are in the same situation. Try to explain as extensive as possible how you’re feeling and do not be ashamed of your emotions. When you’re not denying your homesickness, it’s easier to accept it and to let it go. And homesickness is not something that only happens in the first month. Don’t be surprised if it suddenly hits you when you’re away for a couple months already.
Make sure you’ve got distraction
It’s something that always helps when you’re feeling down: go do stuff you like! It doesn’t matter whether it’s ruining a presentation at work, a broken heart, a financial attack… distraction always helps. You’re in New Zealand so there are loads of things to do to keep you busy. These things do not always have to be expensive, also. Keep an eye on our blog to know how to save money during your internship in New Zealand. Until then, the internet will help you out. Try not to suppress or underestimate your homesickness but try to master it. In this way, you can turn the situation upside down. Instead of thinking about how much fun it is back home, you will experience how great your internship abroad is. Positivity!
Let’s continue on the positivity part. Make a list of all the fun, great, exciting or other positive things you have around here. You don’t have to do this alone, your friends, roommates, or co-workers can help you with this as well. In this way, you will experience it’s actually really fun to be here – just in another way. View pictures or the things you have done during your time in New Zealand or the things you are going to do. Go for a little walk and discover the beauty of the city you call home (for now). Always keep in mind: this homesickness will not last forever. It will go away.
Prepare yourself BEFORE your internship
When you’re quite sure you’re going to face homesickness at some point, prepare yourself for this. Put some conversant stuff in your suitcase like stuffed animals or pictures. Now you have a part of your home to put in your new home. It will make the transition easier at the beginning and give you support later as well. If you are really afraid to get homesick, follow a training. It would be such a shame if you have to return home earlier than planned because the homesickness is getting too much. For example, take an assertiveness course or follow a course in social skills. This might sound very intense and overdone but the skills gained from these training can be applied in multiple aspects of your life. It will be of use in the future also. And obviously, it means you can complete your internship abroad!
Only do things you’re comfortable with
The internet is going crazy about this restaurant in your neighbourhood. All weblogs say you absolutely need to do this skydive but, to be honest, you are not feeling like it. You go there anyways to keep yourself busy because that’s what you had to do, right? Not really, no. Only do things you feel comfortable with and where you can be yourself. Find your own favourite café, dare to enjoy ugly parks (because ugly is just another opinion) and don’t be ashamed to enjoy weird comics or bars. This will make it easier to really feel some in your new city. Another thing that might help: make a list of things you still want to do here. This small bucket list is full of things to look forward to.
Don’t shut your hometown out
Making a list of all the negative stuff about your home country might help but don’t completely trash or forget your home country. This will not work in your favour at all. Bring some nice pictures from back home or other objects that are valuable to you. However, be aware of the fact some objects can only worsen your homesickness so choose wisely. Once you arrived in New Zealand, stay in touch with your friends and family. We’re not talking about calling for hours every day but more like sending cute presents or lovely letters. You’ve got two places you can call home now.
Avoid using social media too much
It’s very tempting to Skype with your parents when you’re feeling sad or to scroll for hours through the timelines of your friends’ back home. A little voice in your head will tell you their life is better with all the festive days you’re missing out on (Christmas, birthdays, public holidays…). You will understand yourself this is not going to help you. When you’re homesick, avoid social media. There are so many amazing things you can do with that time like exploring your city of having great food.
Doing sports is quite personal, not everyone likes Zumba or hockey. Then we also have those that do not like any kind of sports. However, there is a sport for everyone. Doing sports will improve your physical as well as your mental health. You will feel happier and you have a distraction. Find the kind of sports that fits you and that you can do close to your place and you will discover all the advantages soon.
Be nice to yourself
Do not underestimate the power of homesickness. Be nice to yourself. It’s okay to not be okay for a little while and to not be able to arrange university stuff or get work done. Treat yourself to something nice (preferably something healthy also to make you really feel better) and do not be too hard on yourself. Be careful when it comes to food, though; emotional eating is never a good thing and it can easily become a habit when you comfort yourself with crap food if you’re feeling sad. When we say “be nice to yourself” we’re more talking about: go for an extra long shower, buy that book you’ve wanted to buy for so long, and treat yourself to a good movie.