How to fight off homesicknes

I wrote about how to stave off homesickness during the holidays if you are staying abroad previously. This article though deals with what to when the homesickness bug wants to bite you before or after the holiday season. I didn’t suffer from intense homesickness because I figured out how to manage it. On my first day when I arrived in Germany, I met my friend Maria she was a massive help. She had a wealth of information as she had already lived in Germany for a year. I adjusted quickly and was travelling alone by train, bus and tram super fast. Maria was busy packing to leave when I arrived at my dorm which I shared with her for a week. She took me to Essen and showed me where the affordable shops were. She even took me to my first touristy destination in Germany the Villa Hügel. We registered my German sim/phone card together. And then she had to leave for Bonn which is about 2 hours away from Essen Hauptbahnhof (Main train station). Due to an error with my accommodation, I found myself alone in Essen whilst all my classmates were in Duisburg, the city where I was attending classes. After Maria left the loneliness started to creep in. My new roommate Gwen would later become a great friend.

Waving goodbye to my loved ones in Cape Town. And travelling to Germany.

Busy bee

Keep busy if you are travelling or exploring your new home city then you won’t have much time left to miss home as much. I called my sister and complained then I decided to do something about feeling sad. I saw a Facebook post of Studifarhten a student bus travel company which stated that a trip to Amsterdam was on the cards. I booked it and went. You can also meet friends by travelling solo read click my article on

I also decided I would explore more. My classes had not started yet and I had lots of spare time on my hands so I explored my suburb Essen-Kray-Leith and the city centre.

Meet people

Put yourself out there attend social events and meet people. You can meet people through classmates like I did. You can also meet people whilst travelling. Sign up for Meetup and or find expat communities which you can join. Sign-up for things you love such as art classes, gym, dance class, drama lessons, kickboxing etc. You can even volunteer at an organization and give back whilst meeting people.

My classmates who became my friends Zena (from Brazil) and Mabel (from Honduras) invited the females of our class to their flat to share a meal. I attended and there I had Brigadeiro (melted chocolate mixed with condensed milk), which we all ate by the spoonful. The highlight of that dinner was meeting my friend Anastasia (from Russia whose nickname is Nastaya). Zena introduced us and guess what we found out we lived in the same building. We could even visit each other without walking out of our buildings as the entire dorm was connected by an underground floor. We exchanged contact information e-mailed each other at first and then started visiting each other for tea. Nastya was exactly what I needed to get over feeling alone in Essen.

Elain on the left Nastya in the middle and me on the right. We took this in Essen at an ice-cream parlour.

Be approachable

Some people are more reserved at first, like my friend Gwen be kind and friendly. If you do click you will eventually become friends it can just take time. I made more effort to get to know Gwen and bought her a pair of Dutch clogs as a gift in Amsterdam. She was so happy and returned the gesture by buying me a cute bell from Prague. We later shared meals, had dinner parties, shared dinners in our flat, exchanged gifts, danced together and went to sites in Essen and Cologne. I was invited to visit her in the North of France and someday I will. I had to make sacrifices and put my thesis first so I couldn’t visit her, it’s a goal which I will turn into a reality.

Cook food from home

Cook things from home it will help and sharing what you cook with your friends can be great for bonding. But, do try the food in the place where you are living I had chicken schnitzel during my first couple of days in Germany with Maria. I hunted down spices such as curry powder which is sold in Asian shops such as Pakistani ones in Germany and cooked dishes like curry and biryani which I used to eat at home. I bought South African wine and looked into ordering biltong but, it was too costly. I later cooked things from home for my friends and they did the same for me.

Speak to people

If you feel lonely and sad you should speak about it to people who care about you. I spoke to Nastya about missing home, to my sister and my boyfriend when it got too much. For me, it rarely got too much and the worst part was not being able to hug my sister and hold my boyfriend but talking to them via Skype etc helped a lot.

Stay in touch

Don’t forget to stay in touch with your loved ones at home. People matter and you should also keep them updated so that they know where you are in case of an emergency. I made a consistent effort to keep in touch with special people from home. I got a Lyca mobile sim for free from a friendly German guy who was promoting the brand. I used this sim to call my mom who is allergic to all forms of social media. I spoke to my sister and boyfriend every day using Facebook and messenger. I also found unique was to stay in contact with my boyfriend. I made him a digital photo album and sent him a digital message. I posted postcards to my loved ones and got a package from my sister. These little things helped me feel connected to my home and loved ones.

Thank again for reading and please do comment if you would like to. Reading comments on my blog is lots of fun and I really appreciate them.
Wishing you happy travels through the journey of life!

xxx Nikki xxx


  1. says:

    These are very good tips for students. 🙂 I’m often jealous of younger expats, and not just for the obvious reason. It’s so much easier to meet new people; especially people that speak English, so you don’t feel quite as isolated. Great post!

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    1. Thanks for your comment 😊 it is easier yes but there are a few communities for other expats as well. If you search on Facebook you will find a few. Also some of the student events are open to non students as well.

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