Feeling homesick is a normal feeling when you first arrive as an Au pair. YOU CAN GET THROUGH IT! It just takes a little time and some effort on your part. Tell yourself that you can live with being uncomfortable for a short time. Trust yourself that you made the right decision. Trust me when I say it will get better and your whole year is ahead of you. Fun times and lifetime friends await you. GO GET THEM!
Almost everyone experiences homesickness and culture shock to some degree when they come to live in a completely new environment. So much is different and it takes time to adjust.
It is normal to miss your own family, at home. Try to remember that they support you and want you to make the most of this experience. Your family and friends back home will enjoy learning more about the U.S., through your eyes, as you share your adventures with them.
Top 5 Tips for Dealing with Homesickness
1. Make Friends – Don’t wait for other au pairs to reach out to you, reach out to them. There are lots of new au pairs who are feeling the same way you are right now. Set a goal to reach out to a few of them each day. Some will respond and some will not. Don’t let that discourage you. No one will ever be mad at you for sending them a message to say hello or ask if they want to do something together. Make friends from various countries and you will also get a chance to practice your English skills together.
2. Stay in touch with your home country, but not too much. Skyping or talking on the phone every day with your family and/or friends back home normally makes homesickness worse. Try to lessen your contact by every other day and slowly to once a week, until you feel stronger. It’s much harder seeing the faces and hearing the voices of those you miss.
3. Get out of the house (or your room specifically) – Attend your zoom cluster meetings! Ask your host family how you can be social with other Au pairs outside of their home. Perhaps you can have coffee or meet outside with other au pairs, join a gym, go to the library, go for a walk, visit the mall, get a manicure, visit a museum. If someone invites you out, say “yes”. Also, don’t be afraid to do the inviting. If your host family invites you to do things with them, say “yes.” This will help you get to know each other and contribute to your overall happiness.
4. Realize that it definitely gets better – All au pairs experience homesickness and the vast majority of them get through it, stay and have a successful year (some even extend for a second year!) So, it must get better, right? Once you get past the initial homesickness, most au pairs report how quickly the year goes by.
5. Make Plans – Create your own Au Pair Bucket List (places you want to go, new foods to try, new things to experience during your year in the U.S.) and start doing them now. Post on our cluster Facebook group to find others who may want to join you on your adventures.
Photo by: Shimelle Laine (Flickr)