Overcoming Homesickness Overseas

Going anywhere different for a significant amount of time can be tough – but what happens when you go overseas for 12 months? Our Returned Volunteers are no strangers to the notion, and have collaborated with Project Trust to share their best advice and tips for overcoming homesickness while overseas.

Project Trust Gap Year

“It comes in waves and it’s totally normal. Try to limit immediate contact. Letters are a great idea! And know that it takes time to get settled and once you have been there longer it gets a lot easier!”

Honor, India 16/17

Project Trust Gap Year

“Communicate openly and honestly with your partner! A good partner relationship can get you through anything, likewise a rocky one can make things a lot more difficult than what they need to be.”

Chloe, India 17/18

Project Trust Gap Year

“My number one tip would be to get yourself involved in the local community as much as is humanly possible – it’s scary putting yourself out there in such an alien culture at first, particularly in the first few months, but over time that host village/city/school will become your new home and you’ll think much less about the UK. You’ll be too busy forming new relationships and learning more about the way of life/language/food that you won’t have time to feel homesick!”

Rosie, Honduras 17/18

Project Trust Gap Year

“When I was homesick I wrote letters to home and posted them, it gave me something to do instead of sitting there thinking of home. I found if you write it down it makes you feel much better. I also asked my queen of a mother to send me an Irish filled care package full of traditional Irish things like crisps, tea, and little Irish nick knacks, like magnets and post cards – it just reminded me of home.”

Jenny, India 16/17

Project Trust Gap Year

“Throw yourself into every opportunity that comes your way in your local community as it’ll take your mind off being homesick and will enable you to meet new people and try new things. As well as trying new things, don’t give up your hobbies from home. Find music or exercise classes or whatever you’re into and if there isn’t any then you could potentially start your own as an extracurricular at school.”

Shannon, Thailand 17/18

Project Trust Gap Year

“Homesickness comes in waves! Before you know it you’ll be back home – so make the most of your time out there!”

Ellie, South Africa 15/16

Project Trust Gap Year

“When you feel super low, write it all down; why you are angry, sad, annoyed…put it all down. Firstly, it’ll take it off your chest, and later, you’ll be able to see how things have (hopefully) gotten better!”

Alex, Malaysia 17/18

Project Trust Gap Year

“You need to remember that the homesickness will pass, and sometimes you need to give yourself time to do this and just take small pleasures for yourself. When we felt low we would do a girls night where we bought Honduran treats and watch a movie together – it’s really good to reach out to your partner and share the experience because you can really help each other. Going for walks around the local area can help, as we would just be chatting away but also feeling like we were getting to know the place. Get into the community! I found that once we became such good friends with our neighbours I never got homesick because I had my second family, and now I miss them how I used to miss my actual family!”

Charlotte, Honduras 17/18

Project Trust Gap Year

“Find something really fun to do with your friends or your partner – we would go somewhere like to the shops or a touristy part of the city or go out for food or to visit another project nearby – anything to take our minds off it. Then when you’ve had this lovely day and you Skype home later, you realise that always, without fail, you will have had a more interesting day than your family back home! Like Ellie said, homesickness comes in waves, and it can hit you at such random times, but honestly, homesickness was what made me make friends with people I might not have otherwise, learn new skills and take part in things. It also helped me so much because doing all those things because I was homesick also helped me get involved in my project and by Christmas I felt so at home in Hyderabad – my family started to wonder if I would ever come back…”

Anne, India 16/17