How to Deal with Home Sick Problem while Volunteering Abroad
Whenever you travel abroad as an international volunteer or otherwise, you probably will feel homesick sooner or later. It is a completely natural process and you do not need to feel guilty about it. Usually the homesickness starts a bit later after the initial euphoria of being in a new place has worn off. You then start feeling homesick as you gain some perspective of where you are and how different things are from the way they are back home. There is no need to battle feelings of homesickness. Instead there are many ways in which you can manage them and prevent them from stopping you from enjoying your stay.
Firstly, being abroad does not mean that you disconnect yourself from your family back in your home country. They are your loved ones and you need the emotional and moral support they can provide you when you are working as an international volunteer or intern in a far away country where people probably think and speak differently. Getting a local SIM card will allow you to stay connected with your family by phone. Visiting an internet café will allow you to stay connected by Facebook or by email. We at Cross Continental will try our best to put you in a position where you can communicate with your family members back home when you wish to. Even though you may be working in disadvantaged areas we try our best to provide you information so that you can stay in touch with your family through internet or phone where possible.
Secondly, there is no better solution to prevent feeling overwhelmed by homesickness than by occupying yourself with work. That is indeed one of the best things of signing up as an international volunteer or intern. When you are working with orphaned children or the elderly and sick people and helping them out you will tend to have little time to think about your home. Of course the feelings can be kept at bay for as long as you are with company but as soon as you are alone the feelings can return and you can control them by other means.
Thirdly, try talking about your feelings with others and make new friends. It will probably help a lot if you talk to other interns and volunteers who may be feeling the same way about being far away from home. Remember you would be feeling the same way if you were holidaying at some far away tourist spot. So the feeling is not very different and you do not have to blame the absence of technology for it. Talk to your local friends and international friends and you will see that they too can be a good source of moral and emotional support to help you avoid feeling lonely and homesick.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that you are not here only to help others but also to help yourself. Try going out and meeting new people. Talk to the local people and learn about their daily lives. You will see that the day to day concerns of the local people are not really that different from back home. You will get the opportunity to connect with them and this will help you to combat the depressing feelings of being homesick.
Writing is extremely cathartic and a good way to spend lonely hours. Try to keep a journal where you can record your feelings and new things that learned during the day. If you cannot send your family emails try writing a letter. You will find that you can be more expressive when writing a letter in your own hand than by typing an email. It will help you relieve all the emotional burden and stress and you will feel much better and relaxed.