When you move to a foreign country it’s only natural that you will sometimes feel homesick; getting pangs of sadness as you think back to the things you’ve left behind to start a new life overseas. You might find yourself daydreaming about your friends, family and even the shows on TV back in America and find yourself feeling a little down.
Homesickness is Common Among Expats and immigrants in Italy. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself though because feeling homesick is a common complaint among Expats and immigrants to a new country. When you do feel homesick try not to allow yourself to wallow in it and instead take some proactive steps to make yourself feel better!
Don’t forget that it’s a brave decision to relocate to another country and even if you do feel homesick from time to time there are quite a few ways that you can combat it! Most people do fall homesick when they are far from home and so it’s really nothing to worry about; and even if you feel it won’t pass, you can practise a few techniques to help to keep it at bay.
Ways that You Can Combat Homesickness while in Italy.
As an immigrant from India to the United States in the 1990’s, I have dealt with homesickness in a major fashion. I was alone, far away from India, trying to find my way in a highly competitive society. There was no internet, email and international phone calls were very expensive. A 10 minute phone call to India would cost $20 (at a time when I was making $250 per month working odd jobs at gas stations and restaurants to support my education).
It is a different world now. It is easy and a lot cheaper to keep in touch with friends and family back home. But you will still feel homesick. The following are some of the ways you can deal with it.
Netflix and Amazon Prime.
It can be really comforting to curl up with some hot chocolate and watch some of your favorite shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime. When you’re in Italy most of the TV and movies are understandably in Italian and if your language skills aren’t quite up to scratch this can make you feel isolated and lonely.
You should also be aware that when you’re overseas streaming platforms like Netflix might not work though! You can circumvent this problem quite easily though by using a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, which will let you stream all your shows from back home no matter where you are in the world!
When you’re living overseas as an Expat you should always try to stay in contact with your friends and family back home. This will help to stop you feeling lonely and cut off from the news and events in the States. It’s never been easier to stay connected with your family by using online video conferencing platforms such as Zoom.
You can set up regular weekly calls so that you can share your recent adventures and find out what your family has been doing. This can make a huge difference to maintaining good spirits and will really help to reduce your feelings of homesickness.
Watch Your Favorite Sports Teams.
When you’re away from home it’s always a good idea to keep up with your sports teams from back home! Having lived in Philadelphia, I always try to stay up to date with the latest sporting action from baseball, the Phillies, basketball, the Sixers and my local ice hockey team, the Flyers. You can usually find ways to watch the games online but if you can’t watch the games live you can always listen to the commentaries online. Watching the Philadelphia Eagles game from Italy is one of my favorite things to do. Many games are streamed online, which you can watch if you use a VPN service. NFL also has NFL Game Pass (paid service). This service allows you to watch the recording of every single NFL game during the season.
Get Involved with the Local Sports and Matches.
Just because you’re away from home it doesn’t mean that you can’t follow some of the local sports teams too. This is a great way to meet new friends and get involved with the latest sporting action in your new neck of the woods.
When you’re in Italy, you’ll quickly discover that the country is crazy about football; and so even if you don’t already follow the sport you can take up following one of the local teams.
Italian football is amongst the best in the world and the local leagues are massively popular. In many towns and villages the entire place shuts down so that people can support their local team and if you find yourself somewhere like that the best thing to do is to get involved!
If you are a fan of American Football or Rugby, Soccer is a tough sport to watch because there is a significant drop in intensity. I watch Italian soccer, the way I watch American Baseball games, have a drink, walk around the house, talk to my friends or cook with the TV on. I guarantee that you will not miss anything significant!!
Join Local Groups.
There are many ways that you can get out there and start to meet new friends, in both the Expat and the local communities. Making new friends will really help you to avoid those feelings of homesickness as you start to build a new life in Italy.
You can join local language clubs if you’re learning Italian where you’ll meet other Expats as well as locals. You can join hiking, birdwatching, paragliding, dinner clubs and so much more! Whatever your interests you’re bound to find a nearby group or club to join. This is a fantastic way to start to dip your toes into the life of your new community.
Do Something Familiar.
When you’re away from home, especially for long periods of time, it can really help to do some familiar things. You can leave room in your schedule for a trip to Starbucks or McDonalds to get a taste of home or treat yourself to a steak and fries in a local hotel.
You can also look for some local Expat clubs and groups which you can find details of on websites such as Meetup or Facebook. Finding some new friends who have also chosen to become Expats and have similar interests to you will really kickstart your new life in a positive way. Not only can you explore the culture of Italy together but you can also reminisce about life back home.
Get Out the House More Often.
If you’re having a bout of homesickness then try to get out the house and keep yourself busy! Explore the incredible country of Italy; visit the museums, galleries and local sites of cultural heritage. Learning more about your new country will help to take your mind off your homesickness and make it easier for you to find your feet.
There’s so much to do in Italy so why not join a cooking class or go on a wine tasting tour? You’ll have the chance to learn more about the cuisine of Italy while meeting new people and learning new skills.
The last thing you want to be doing is staying in your house alone if you’re feeling homesick and so even though you might not want to at the time, getting out is always a great way to get yourself back into a better mood.
Make A New Routine.
It can be difficult at first, but when you move to a new country you should try to establish a routine. Having regular commitments and activities that you do each week will help you to feel as though you are making progress in your new life and will reduce those moments when you find yourself a little overwhelmed with homesickness.
Why not find a local gym or a cafe that you can have breakfast in each day? Creating a new life is difficult without having a positive routine to get you through those moments when things start to get on top of you. Take each day one at a time and really throw yourself into your new life as an Expat.
Start a Blog!
Even if you’ve never thought about doing it before when you move to a new country setting up a blog can be a great project to keep you busy. You’ll have plenty to write about as you find your feed in Italy and whether you focus on your travels, the food you’re tasting or the local history of where you’re living you’ll always have something interesting to say.
Your friends and family can also read about your experiences and this will help to keep you connected with those back home. You can also use your blog to document your life and adventures while you explore Italy.
Conclusion: Dealing with Homesickness in Italy.
Italy is a wonderful country with a lot of amazing things to discover, however, everybody does feel homesick from time to time, especially if it’s your first major trip abroad. While you’re living as an Expat, or even just visiting, another country you should always keep your links to your family and friends in the States open. They’ll love to hear news about how you’re getting along and you can catch up on the gossip back home!
Remember that homesickness is a natural feeling but it doesn’t have to ruin your time abroad. Always be proactive and establish a healthy and positive routine to help you ground yourself while you’re still finding your feet in a new country.