Adjusting to life living in Australia
Living in Australia is an adventure which throws up a number of challenges. You’re constantly battling lengthy to-do lists for an incredible reward at the end. You are no longer a tourist in Australia, you are a local. Before you were just passing, now you get to be part of this beautiful place and really see what makes it tick. It’s a new world for you to explore to your heart’s content, no longer limited by typical tourist time restrictions. For those who relocate, it is this new permanence that can come with an unfortunate side effect, homesickness.
Homesickness has now been recognised as a condition in the world of psychology. It tends to stem from a difference in culture, a language barrier, a change in circumstances and a fear of the unknown. Studies suggest that it can hit people in different ways at different times, leading them to become withdrawn or low in mood.
You are not alone
Feeling homesick is perfectly natural and most of us experience it when we relocate. There’s no reason to suffer in silence and there are a few simple things you can do to help ease some of its symptoms.
Find an expat community from your home country
Living in Australia is a dream shared by thousands of people around the world. This has resulted in some very active expat communities for those who have moved ‘down under’. The best way to find them is often through Facebook groups. Groups such as ‘Poms in Perth’, ‘Melbourne Italians’ & ‘Londoner in Sydney’ run online forums, regular meetups and weekly group activities. These networks can be an easy way to find others who are in a similar position to you. They can help you with useful information, such as directing you to speciality local shops or the restaurants that ‘make it like they do back home’.
Tell the people you know in Australia
Your new friends and colleagues in Living in Australia may not know how you’re feeling. If you let them know that you’re feeling a little homesick, often they will let you know that they love having you and you’re valued here. Telling them can also remind them how far from home you actually are, this may encourage them to put in extra effort to make you feel more at home when they can.
Go on holiday
A low cost flight to a nearby South East Asian destination, such as Bali, can provide a much-needed change of scenery to help handle homesickness. A new culture far from your own coupled with a different place to explore can clear your head and help you remember the things you appreciate about your new life in Australia.
Those who suffer from homesickness often suggest it is triggered by a low mood. If you stay healthy by eating right, exercising regularly and limiting alcohol consumption, you can markedly improve your mood and any negative homesick feelings. You’ve moved to one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world so make the most of it by getting outdoors, it will make you feel better!
Schedule regular video calls with home
Organise video calls with loved ones from home through free video calling apps, such as Zoom or Google Hangouts. By both seeing and hearing them, this will make you feel a little closer to home. With the recent coronavirus outbreak, many family members have become more familiar with using video calling technology, meaning it will be easier to reach them in a similar way in the future.
Keep track of special occasions
Keep a diary filled with friends and family’s birthdays and key dates. Sending a card means more when you’re so far away and shows you’ve been thinking of them. These little gestures of goodwill really matter to people and often spark a conversation or a catch up at a later date.
Invite friends and family to come and stay
Australia is the trip of a lifetime and you can help your friends and family see it for the first time. If they can stay with you and skip the cost of accommodation, they may be able to afford a holiday they wouldn’t have considered previously. Most people don’t like inviting themselves and many would love the opportunity to see Australia if you simply just asked them.
Make Australia feel like home
The most critical way of solving homesickness is to make Australia feel like home. This is easier said than done and can take years of work, but by making small changes and being proactive you will be able to almost eradicate day-to-day homesick feelings. Our personal relationships tend to be one of the leading factors in homesickness, so integrating into your new Australian community is key. See our article ‘Building relationships in local Australian Communities’ for more ideas on how to do this.
Living in Australia is the ultimate reward.
It can take more than a few family pictures in your new home to stop you feeling homesick, you need to work at it. Remind yourself why you are living in Australia in the first place! Discover new things you can’t live without that are local to you now, take note of the memories you’ve already made here, make new traditions and use them to strengthen new relationships. Be aware that certain times of the year may be harder than others and plan trips to your home country accordingly if you need to. By putting in the time and effort, almost everyone is able to cope with homesickness and enjoy their new life!
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