Coping With Homesickness: Strategies For International Educators  

Are you an international educator who feels homesick sometimes? Do you miss your family, friends, culture, and food from your home country? If so, you are not alone. Many international educators experience homesickness at some point in their careers. This EDU Blog will show you some strategies to overcome homesickness.

What causes homesickness for educators?

This is a common question that many educators and professors face when they move to a new place or country for their work. Homesickness is a feeling of longing for one’s familiar surroundings, culture, and people. 

This feeling can affect anyone who leaves their home for a long time. Moreover, it may be incredibly challenging for educators to adapt to a different educational system, language, and expectations.

Homesickness can manifest in various ways, such as sadness, anxiety, loneliness, nostalgia, irritability, or loss of motivation. Some of the factors that can trigger homesickness for educators are:

  • The lack of social support and connection with colleagues and students: Educators may feel isolated or misunderstood in their new environment and may miss the camaraderie and feedback they had in their previous workplace.

  • The difference in teaching styles and methods: Educators may have to adjust to a different curriculum, assessment, and pedagogy in their new school or university. They may face challenges communicating with their students, managing their classroom, or meeting academic standards and expectations.

  • Cultural shock and adaptation: Educators may experience a sense of disorientation and confusion when encountering unfamiliar customs, values, and norms in their new country or region. They may have to deal with language barriers, stereotypes, discrimination, or prejudice. They may also miss their own culture, traditions, and food.

  • Personal and family issues: Educators may have to cope with the separation from their loved ones, friends, and pets. They may feel guilty or worried about leaving them behind or being unable to support them. They may also need help balancing their work and personal life.

Feeling homesick as an international educator

Being an international educator is a fantastic opportunity to explore new cultures, learn new languages, and positively impact the lives of students around the world. But it can also be challenging to leave behind your family, friends, and familiar surroundings.

Sometimes, you might feel homesick and miss the things that make you feel comfortable and happy. Homesickness is a natural and normal reaction to living in a different environment. It does not mean that you are weak or ungrateful. It just means that you are human and you have emotional needs.

However, homesickness can also affect your well-being and performance as an educator. It can make you feel sad, lonely, anxious, or irritable. It can also interfere with your motivation, concentration, and creativity. That is why it is essential to cope with homesickness in healthy and effective ways.

Tips for coping with Homesickness

Here are some strategies that can help you cope with homesickness as an international educator:

1. Stay connected with your loved ones

You can easily keep in touch with your loved ones at home with technology. There are many ways to share your adventures, get some tips, or have a chat. You can see their faces on video calls, post updates on social media, send messages on apps, or write emails.

You can also make them happy by mailing them postcards, gifts, or photos. They will love to hear from you and know that you care.

2. Create a routine

A routine can help you feel more grounded and comfortable in your new environment. Establish a regular schedule for your work, meals, sleep, exercise, and leisure activities.

You can also incorporate some habits or rituals you used to do at home, such as reading a book before bed, listening to your favorite music, or meditating in the morning.

3. Explore your surroundings

One of the best ways to cope with homesickness is to embrace your new location and culture. You can learn more about the history, traditions, cuisine, and language of the place where you are living.

Other activities you can do is to visit the local attractions, museums, parks, or markets. You might discover something new and exciting that will make you appreciate your host country more.

4. Make new friends

Another way to cope with homesickness is to build a social network in your new place. You can connect with other international educators who might be going through similar challenges and emotions.

You can also join clubs, groups, or events that match your interests or hobbies. Furthermore, volunteering or participating in community activities can be great ways to meet new fellows. Making new friends can help you feel less lonely and more supported.

5. Seek professional help if needed

If your homesickness becomes severe or persistent, it may be a sign of a more serious problem such as depression or anxiety. In that case, you should not hesitate to seek professional help from a counselor, therapist, or doctor.

They can provide you with the appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and support that you need. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it.

6. Maintain a positive attitude and outlook

Do you miss your home country? Sometimes, you may feel sad or angry about your new place. You may think that everything is better at home. However, this feeling is not good for you. You should try to be happy and positive.

For example, thinking about the good side in your life is a way to cope with homesickness. Be thankful for what you have and what you can do. Make some plans and goals for yourself and work hard to achieve them. Celebrate when you do something good.

Remember why you wanted to be an international educator. Think about how you are helping yourself and others by doing this.

In a nutshell

Homesickness is a common and understandable feeling for international educators. However, it does not have to ruin your experience or prevent you from fulfilling your potential.

By using EDU Passport’s proposed strategies, you can cope with homesickness in healthy and effective ways. You can also enjoy your life as an international educator and make the most of it.

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