Dealing with homesickness: The bliss and the challenges of moving abroad

 In Articles

iving abroad is an exciting adventure that offers plenty of opportunity for fun and growth. It comes with its own set of challenges, though, such as homesickness. You might feel disconnected to the new place, lonely, longing for those well-known places, people, food, the culture might be very different from yours and sometimes even trying to communicate can feel overwhelming. As an expat myself, I feel you! The good news is: it is possible to navigate it and get the best out of the experience of being away. It will require taking action and giving it a fair try.

First and foremost, different from what we learn throughout our lives, difficult emotions are not meant to be avoided or silenced. You feel homesick because you should feel that way. Every emotion points at something that is important to us. You are away from valuable things to you, so it makes sense to miss them and even to feel sad about it. Dealing with homesickness means validating and accepting this feeling as expected and even meaningful. Means making space for it – not trying to silence it. That will enable you to look around to try to find new meaningful places, people, food, experiences.

Here are some tips that might be helpful. Please look at them as a starting point to create your own recipe to make the best out of this moment in your life.


1. Connect through courses, community groups and clubs

There is no better place to find like-minded people than in places and activities you like yourself. I went for dance classes and a book club. Guess what, there were other people looking for the same as me: connection.

Amsterdam is a diverse city with a thriving expat community. There are many local community groups and clubs for you to try out. Whether it’s a book club, sports group, or hobby-based community like photography or cycling, joining such organizations can provide a sense of belonging and the context to meet interesting people.

2. Attend social events

Amsterdam offers a vibrant social scene, and attending local events is a great way to meet new people. Look for social gatherings, meetups, or cultural events happening in your area. Platforms like and local event calendars can be valuable resources for discovering activities that align with your interests. These events not only introduce you to new friends but also allow you to experience the city’s cultural richness.

3. Embrace expat networks

Expats often share a unique bond. We share this experience of living in a foreign country, manoeuvring between two or more cultures, rebuilding our lives, dreams, and routines. In the Netherlands, there are numerous expat networks and forums where you can connect with individuals going through similar challenges. Online platforms, expat meetups, and social media groups dedicated to expats in Amsterdam can be excellent channels for finding support and forming friendships. Give it a go on Facebook groups, Instagram pages and WhatsApp groups for Expats. I have met some dear friends this way.

4. Volunteer in the community

Volunteering is a fulfilling way to connect with both expats and locals while contributing to the community. Identify local volunteer opportunities that align with your skills and interests. Not only does this provide a sense of purpose, but it also introduces you to a diverse group of people who share your commitment to making a positive impact. You might find yourself creating roots and new valuable experiences while donating some of your skills or time.

5. Attend language exchange programs

Language is a powerful tool for connection. Attend language exchange programs or language cafés where you can practice the new language and, in return, help others with their language skills. This not only enhances your linguistic abilities but also provides a relaxed environment for building relationships with locals.

6. Establish a routine

Creating a routine in your new environment can help combat homesickness by providing a sense of stability. Explore your neighbourhood, find local cafés, and establish regular activities. Having familiar elements in your daily life can make your new city feel more like home.


Slowly, but surely, it will go better.

Combating homesickness in Amsterdam involves proactively building a support network and engaging with the local community. By connecting with fellow expats or locals through community groups, clubs, social events, and other avenues, you not only deal with homesickness but also help you feel like you fit in and belong in the new city. Remember, the journey of acclimating to a new place is unique for everyone, so be patient with yourself and embrace the opportunities for growth and connection that your international adventure presents.

If you find yourself struggling with the challenges of adapting to a new culture or dealing with homesickness, I am here to help. I am an experienced counsellor for personalized support to guide you through this transitional period. Take the next step towards a smoother adjustment. Your journey to feeling more at home starts here.

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