Moving to a new country can be very overwhelming at first, and it's not unusual for such big changes to sometimes cause homesickness.
It is totally normal to feel nostalgic and miss your friends and family back home, but this doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying your Au Pair experience to the fullest.
In this article, we have compiled a series of tips that will help you deal with homesickness and show you how you can fight it!
Being an Au Pair gives you the chance to live abroad and expand your horizon. Nevertheless, this opportunity also comes with some challenges. Being far from your friends and family, having troubles with understanding the language and having to adapt to a new culture can of course lead to some nostalgic feelings. For this reason, we have put together 11 great tips to help you avoid homesickness.
1. Discover your new country
Get ready to discover all the best places around your city, town or region. Be a tourist: buy a local guide to check the museums, monuments and restaurants and enjoy the popular spots in your area. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the surroundings, you will also be able to pinpoint the places you like most, your favourite restaurant, shop or museum.
You can also plan weekend or day trips with friends or acquaintances. Create a bucket list of all the destinations you would like to visit. This will give you something to focus on and put your energies into. Traveling to nearby cities or spending some time outdoors surrounded by nature will also make you appreciate how far you’ve come!
2. Spend some quality time with the family
As an Au Pair you are a temporary member of the Host Family and it would be nice to spend some quality time with them. Join the family for dinner or maybe let them show you their favorite places in the neighbourhood. Your family will be there to help you adapt and feel at home. Besides, spending time with them will also get you closer to the kids and build a special bond with the family.
3. Meet new people
Join an international group or a club, meet other Au Pairs or simply talk to the people you meet when you are at the playground with the children or while you are waiting for them at the school entrance. Having friends in the Host Country will definitely help you have a good time, while also giving you some support when you are feeling down. Meeting friends from different countries will also enrich your experience and give you a different perspective.
If you want to read more about how to meet people, have a look at our article about how to make friends abroad.
Finding friends abroad
Being an Au Pair you will have plenty of possibilities to find friends abroad. Local people will also help you to adapt to the new reality. Learn more
4. Don’t spend too much time on Skype or social media
Keeping in touch with your friends and family back home is very important, especially when you’re not feeling at your best. But this could also backfire, as it could keep you away from connecting with your Host Family, getting to know your Host Country, and in general distract you from your Au Pair experience.
This works also for social media: constantly seeing what your friends back home are doing will probably make you feel even more nostalgic. So try to find a balance between communicating with the people back home and living your adventure in the Host Country.
5. Invite friends from home to visit you
If you’re missing your friends a lot, ask the Host family if you’re allowed to invite one friend to spend some time with you in the Host Country. Spending a few days with somebody you know well will allow you to explore more of your Host Country together and will make you appreciate it even more.
6. Make your room feel like home
You can ask permission to your Host Family to personalize your own room with pictures, posters, fairy lights or other items that might make your room feel more cozy and more “you”. Being surrounded by things that you like and that make you feel more comfortable will definitely improve your mood.
7. Keep up your hobbies and your passions
The fact that you’ve moved to another country doesn’t mean that your entire routine and habits need to change. If you have any particular hobbies and passions, try and find a way to keep them up. Besides being a great way to distract yourself from being homesick, it is also a great way to meet new people and make friends that share your interests!
8. Plan your time!
Is there some place nearby you always wished you could visit? Then do it as soon as possible! During your time abroad it’s normal to say “I have all year to go there” until suddenly it's over. Take full advantage of your time abroad and enjoy this once in a lifetime chance.
9. Attend a language course
The language course will not only let you improve your language skills but will also help you to meet new people. Your classmates will probably be also new in the host country, so they will also understand how you feel.
10. Treat yourself
Be kind to yourself! If one day you are feeling down, treat yourself by buying some nice things: clothes, food, make-up. It won’t be a long term solution, but it will definitely help make you feel a little bit better.
11. Talk about it!
Do not feel like this is something you need to deal with on your own. It’s very understandable to feel homesick when you are far from your home. It is thus important to talk about it with the people around you: friends, family and especially your Host Family, as they will be able to help you.
It depends on several factors. Create your profile and make it attractive for other users. Check that you meet the Au Pair requirements set by the Au Pair program. Be active and contact 20-30 Host Families per day. While contacting the Host Families, make also sure that you fulfil the family’s expectations. Be active, open minded and try to convince families that the time spent with you will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for their kids! Generally speaking, it takes from one week up to a few months to find a Host Family.
My Au Pair stay went wrong! Can you help me?
We always recommend to have an honest conversation with your Host Family about the problems occurred and find a solution together. Most of the troubles can be solved through communication and feedback! If you can’t find a way out, you can consider contract termination. We recommend you to respect the notice period that is mentioned in your Au Pair contract. During this time both you and your Host Family can find an alternative solution. E.g. you can reactivate your profile at AuPair.com and try to find another Host Family. Be supportive to each other in any case. AuPair.com can’t help you personally in this case as we are an online matching agency with no external offices in the host countries.
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