Moving abroad is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself.
However, it isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Going overseas comes can come with some pretty heavy emotions.
Being immersed in a new culture is amazing, but it’s also possible you might get overwhelmed. You might find yourself lonely – missing family and friends.
Feeling alone is an entirely acceptable emotion in a new country. You don’t have your safety net, or your go-to BFF to meet up with when you have a bad day.
New customs and traditions are beautiful, but it’s natural to feel a little left out at the end of the day.
So how can you deal with this feeling?
Luckily there are measures you can take to strengthen your inner resolve. There are also a number of tools at your disposal you can utilize to banish the feeling of loneliness through connection and interaction.
Connecting with Your Community to Combat Loneliness
One of the best things you can do to fight loneliness abroad may be the exact reason why you went there in the first place.
Finding new friends and connecting with a new culture can banish those lonely thoughts.
Language Classes Fight Loneliness
Taking language courses in your local community is a great way to combat loneliness. You’ll be able to connect with other people there who also do not speak the local language. This builds a sense of comradery and friendship.
According to Go Overseas, learning the language through an intensive program also provides you with a platform you can use to make local friends. Even when you can have short interactions like those with shopkeepers and taxi drivers, you’ll feel more confident and secure.
Sourcing Friends Right in Your Community
Once you know a bit of the language, you’ll be able to meet up with local people and make friends.
Oftentimes you can find people that want to learn your language as well. You can do a cultural and language exchange, oftentimes forging wonderful connections in the process.
To find locals in your area who want to learn your language and teach you some of theirs, use a site like Meetup. You’ll be able to connect instantly with interested parties.
Birds of a Feather Flock Together: Finding Your Family Abroad Helps with Loneliness
“I feel lonely.”
It’s phrase that everyone can relate to, but who back home can really understand your situation?
Unless they’ve been in the same boat, it’s not likely they’ll be able to do much more than sympathize. It’s a good idea to connect with other expats in your area.
But how can you find them?
Use these tools to source new expat friends and confidantes:
- Internations: The website Internations is a great way to meet other expats online. They cover over 390 cities, providing expats with a platform to connect personally. The great thing about Internations is that they have open meetups which you can attend at your leisure and meet large groups of expats at the same time.
- Couchsurfing: Create a Couchsurfing account to meet up with locals and expats alike. You can view profiles and sort through those you like. People that have a Couchsurfing account are usually interested in making friends.
- Expat Hotspots: If you move to an area where there is a large community of people like you, chances are they’ll be hanging out with each other. You’ll need to figure out where. Certain bars and restaurants inevitably draw expats. Try finding a bar that frequently shows a sport from your home-country – there will inevitably be passionate fans gathered there to watch the game who you can mix and mingle with.
Loneliness-Fighting Tools of the Expat Trade
When you think “I feel alone”, oftentimes you can feel under a dark cloud that can lead to depression. It’s absolutely imperative that you not let this take over your life.
Fight this with every tool at your disposal.
Take the time to be with yourself and examine your own feelings. Don’t bury them inside. Once you recognize and bring them to the surface, it’s time to get to work on yourself. Indulge a little bit. Treating yourself can be a great way to show your body and mind some self-love.
Don’t forget to recognize your own ability. Oftentimes, self-affirmations can go a long way. Think of a nice mantra to say and repeat it to yourself every morning.
Be careful not to isolate yourself. Even if you don’t have any interactions planned, get out of the house every day. Exercise can go a long way to bring your spirits up – and who knows what you will discover while you’re out and about!
Don’t Let Loneliness Get You Down
Everyone feels lonely when they move abroad. It’s perfectly natural.
However, it’s up to you to fight the feeling. Only when we step up and truly engage our hearts and minds can we really change our lives.
So be sure to immerse yourself in the local culture with language learning. Connect with other expats around you. Build a sense of community. Once you make it happen, you’ll notice the pieces falling into place.