Moving to a new place is almost never easy, especially if it’s the first time. How I like to think moving is.. if you picture a long swimming pool at different depths and each depth represents different stages of moving. For example; the shallowest would be moving to a different part of the same city, the next would be moving to a new city in the same country, then moving to a new country you have some connection to (whether it is family, friends or you visited a lot). Then there is the deepest, where you move to a new country with no support system around and almost no experience with.
For my first move I walked all the way to the deepest part of the pool, jumped in (probably canon-ball style) and hoped I could swim…
To be honest it wasn’t easy.. I had to pack everything I thought I would need for an entire year, fit it in two big suitcases, baring in mind I was packing for a number of unforeseen situations. Now if you are that kind of person that is an “efficient packer” and is able to bring exactly what is needed then all I can say is.. you have a GIFT!! I unfortunately do not have that gift. I found myself many times throughout the year heading to town to buy things from more plates to a pair of shorts (because lets face it… the UK is NOT known for its many sunny days).
It takes time for someone to really settle in somewhere, to be able to call it ‘home”, it can take a week, a few months, a few years and for some it might never happen. For me it took a month or two.. At the beginning it was hard I moved into a dorm (I had my own room and bathroom) and all these people were going through the same experience as me but most of them had one thing in common.. they were English and I… was not. There were many conversations about references that I didn’t understand about movies, tv shows, music and places I haven’t been to and foods I had never heard of.. If that happens the only advice I can give you is ask questions, ask for music, movie and travel recommendations, go outside and experience the culture, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can integrate. In no time you will be using local slang and talking about the episode that aired last night on ITV2.
But what I really wanted to talk about in this post is when you do move to a new place (in my case it was moving into a dorm at University) how do you make it feel like a home..? And what happens if you get homesick..?
- Bring momentos from home – When moving to a new place its important to not forget the past, but bring the important moments with you. Family photos, small gifts or objects that remind you of a fond memory are good things to bring with you to keep a connection to the past and your other home/s.
I made about 60 polaroids of my friends in Prague, my family and family vacations and other photos that make me happy
- Resemblance of home – If you find yourself missing your old room try to find ways to make your new room look like your old one (posters, photos..)
- Home cooking – If there a signature dishes that you miss from home, get the recipe and try to make it, over time you may feel comfortable enough to start experimenting and make it your own.
- Keep family traditions – if there are any traditions or practices that you did at home it might be good to try to keep them whether that includes, saying grace before eating, praying, or keeping up with foreign holiday traditions.
It is also important to keep in contact with your family in any form, especially if you feel homesick. It doesn’t have to be daily lengthy conversations but a conversation here and there is a good way to maintain a healthy connection to your “other home”. What I do is Skype my parents when I have stories to tell but what works for me is to post little stories or pictures on my “family chat” that we have with my mom, dad and sister.
This is how I dealt with being homesick and how I began to make the UK my new home. And I am so thankful for all the new experiences, friends and academic improvements I have made. If this helped you or if you have any questions or if you just want to say something don’t hesitate to comment😊.