By Dinah E, Auxiliar de Conversación in Madrid 19/20.
Sure, you’ve got dreams of your own. You want to go out there, see the world and explore the possibilities. The idea itself is very inviting, BUT it also means one thing: leaving your comfort zone where your family is, and missing out on all the fun activities and special occasions your family will be having without you.
Having doubts now? Nah, don’t worry about it! Remember each step that you take is all part of your growth as an individual. Your loved ones will be with you throughout your journey and will be the first ones to rejoice with you when something great happens in your life.
Just think about how it was many years ago when there was no internet and smartphones yet, and people relied on letters and long-distance calls to communicate with their families back home. That was difficult! You needed to wait for weeks to receive letters and spend a lot on calls.
Today, communication is made easy through these social media apps. Thanks to the brilliant minds of these people who made it all possible. So, what has this got to do with homesickness? The thing is, you can talk to your family anytime and anywhere you want to! Isn’t that lovely?
Homesickness is a form of anguish that one feels when he or she is away from home. The symptoms can be mild or severe and can lead to anxiety or depression if not given the right attention. Somehow, you need to deal with it and not allow it to get into your system. Keeping in touch with your family often is the most common way of dealing with it, but there are also other ways where you can survive homesickness. Read on.
Since you will be working during the week, make it a point to go out every weekend. We all need a break from our work to rejuvenate ourselves. You may prefer to stay at home for some reasons like preparing for the classes the following week or saving up your money. But come on, you need a break!
Sometimes, when you think too much of your work, you will lose that ability to give your 100%. About saving, you don’t have to spend that much. You just need to include your happy breaks in your monthly budget.
You don’t have to go to other towns if it’s too much for you, just go to the center of Madrid and you’ll have a lot of fun. You’ll see different kinds of people walking down the street with their friends and families. You’ll witness special mini-performances by talented Spanish people through dancing, singing, and playing some instruments like the one I saw wherein a young guy created music out of pipes using rubber slippers! It was uniquely amazing!
When you’re out there and you feel hungry, just look around! There are many restaurants with a variety of cuisines to choose from that are reasonably priced.
Who can resist the Spanish cuisine known for their paella, tortilla de patata, and tapas? The Italian cuisine known for their pasta and pizza? The Chinese cuisine known for their fried rice, dumplings, and spring rolls? The Japanese cuisine known for their ramen and tempura? The Mexican cuisine known for their quesadilla, tacos, and a burrito?
The servings are actually good for two people. Well, for me, at least it was because I don’t usually eat large meals. So, if you’re like me, then it would probably work for you too. Try to eat in different restaurants each time you go out. This will give you the chance to compare the cuisines with each other and choose the one you favor the most.
You can even write a food blog about it if you love to cook or even cook your own version at home. It will also enhance your knowledge of the culture of each cuisine. I use to eat out very often and here are my recommendations for eating out in Spain. 🙂
Work on Your Interest
Do you like to paint? Are you passionate about music? Do you like to exercise, cook, or bake?
You can do all of these things here. You are in another country but it doesn’t change your interests in life. Spain has got magnificent views that you can put into the canvas. To keep yourself fit, hit the gym or join a yoga or pilates class. Apart from having a healthy body, fitness makes you feel good about yourself and gives you that extra boost of energy for your daily activities.
Spice up your life with Spain’s food! Learn how to cook paella or tortilla the Spanish way. You will find it quite different from the way you cooked it back home. If you want to actually see how it’s done, then enroll in a Spanish cooking class. You might get addicted to their cuisine in the long run. If you’ve got the moves, now is your chance to learn the intricate hand and body movements of the Flamenco dance!
Make New Friends
Once you’ve joined any of these classes, you will have more chances of meeting people and gaining new friends. Friendships are important particularly when you are in a strange country and you need someone to share your happiness or worries with. Of course, you can reach out to the friends that you have known all your life through social media but they are not physically there to understand your current situation or comfort you when you feel anxious or stressed.
Learn the Spanish Language
It helps to know their language for easy communication with people who aren’t bilingual. And besides that, Spanish is the second biggest language in the world. You can have some Spanish classes online or you can learn it on your own like what I’m doing.
There are many apps that you can access for free like the spanishdict or the notesinspanish podcasts. Write down the new words that you learn every day and try to use them in a sentence. Repeat the podcasts every day or listen to them more than once, because constant repetition will help you remember the words. Also, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it’s how you learn.
Here’s my final tip for the Christmas season which is the most trying moment for homesickness. Listening to Christmas music brings you a lot of memories back home, so I tried not to listen to it when I’m home and facing my laptop. Well, you can’t avoid it totally since you would be hearing it everywhere you go but it’s different when you’re alone and reminiscing on the past. I know it’s difficult not to play the music so if you would, consider playing the lively ones.
And one last thing, the spirit of Christmas always lives within you. So, it’ll be with you wherever you go regardless of how and who you spend it with.
These are the tips that I use when I feel homesick. Do you have any other useful tricks? It is important to create a family wherever you go, so this homesickness won’t affect the amazing experience that this program brings.