Leaving your friends, family home, pets, boy/girlfriend, work, school might be challenging sometimes. On the one side it is so thrillingly excited but on the other side so terrifying at the same time. Coming to the Host Family that you know only from the Skype conversations may occur hard and uncomfortable. On the top of all the obstacles, you will realise that when you had a bad day, you cannot just go out with your best friend and talk while drinking your favourite coffee or smoothie. That’s the moment when you will feel homesick. What is the antidote for that sickness?
I wish I could give you one simple answer that would be able to solve all of your problems. As much as I want, it is basically impossible. Every situation is different just as everyone is different. It is hard to determine in what kind of circumstance someone is at the time that they feel homesick. However, I will try to give you some tips that might be helpful for you!
- Reducing contact with your friends and family
That is what a lot of au pairs do, especially during first weeks. I am not quite sure if that will really solve the problem though. I did not do that at the beginning of my year. I was talking with my friends a lot because for me it was actually helpful to see familiar faces. I did reduce the contact with them a little later in my year when I established friendships here. That does not mean that I forgot about my old good friends. Never could I do that! I just know that we cannot talk every single day or even week, mainly due to the six hour difference and problems with our busy schedules.
But you will figure out your own unique solution how to deal with friends and family back home. I am trying to stay up-to-date with everything that is going on, but at the same time, I respect their time.
- Get yourself involved with the community
I remember that I said other au pairs in my city that I don’t want to make a lot of “au pair’s friends” and I am still on that side. I do have few au pair who are my best friends. I did not say that because I think I am better than other au pair, no! We are all big wonderful family! I was just aware that I would have to say goodbye every single time these au pairs will leave country. I am also someone who likes strong, meaningful and more intimate relationship so it is simply impossible to be friends with every au pair in my city since there is a lot of au pairs here!
Moreover, I wanted to be engaged into American community to really experience that life here. That was the reason why I volunteered to local animals sanctuary. Whatever works for you, let it be! If you like to dance, find a dance group in your city! If you like animals and miss your pets, be a volunteer at sanctuary. If you like books, get involved in library’s discussion club! There are plenty of opportunities!
- Participate in something meaningful for you!
That was my main goal! Obviously you think differently when you are 18 and when you are 23 years old. A lot of au pairs are younger so they are making a typical gap year after high school. They did not experience life on their own, they did not work professionally and graduated universities. So thinking about their carrier is not a priority for them. And do not understand me wrong, it is totally fine! I was like that too when I was 18. Everyone has this moments in their life. That is just how it works. I experienced typical adult life, living on my own, having my own car, professionally working and studying at the same time.
So in order to make this year as meaningful for me and my future carrier, I needed to find something that will enrich me and my future carrier but also engaged me more with the au pairs community. That is how I become Cultural Care Ambassador. You might try it too! It is a volunteer work but it is wonderful one! If you are a workaholic like me and you feel you need to do something more than just being an au pair, it is perfect match for you!
Whenever you feel homesick, just remember that everyone was feeling that way at some point. It is not uncommon and it may happen not only once. On the other side, it is so important to remember that this feeling will go away, it is truly temporarily. Do not let that feeling ruin your beautiful journey that eventually will lead you to personal growth, unforgettable memories and wonderful friendships!