How to Beat Homesickness

On GoOverseas I read the article 19 Ways to Reduce Homesickness When Living Abroad, which reminded me of  my own battle with it at times while I lived in the U.S. and Japan for close to ten years.

These 19 pointers are definitely worth reading, and yet, I’d also like to add a few of my own.

20. Don’t blame your host country when things go wrong

Remember we had rough days in our home country too. But it is so easy to point the finger, e.g. at a U.S. regulation flaw or the Japanese bureaucracy. There are things you probably disagreed with in your country of origin as well. Keep that in mind when confronted with challenges.

21. Volunteer to make friends and contacts

While waiting for my U.S. work permit, I opted to use the university library to use my time wisely. I was able to help others less fortunate in language skills to navigate their way around. OK, this was unofficial volunteering, but I made some wonderful friends along the way.

In Japan, e.g. I volunteered at a children’s home and made sure to limit my time to 6 weeks. That way, if paying work came up, I’d be free and without hard feelings for having to stop.

22. Learn how to cook some local food

In exchange for English conversation, I learned how to make some home-cooked Japanese food. We chose recipes with easy to get ingredients and I really enjoyed the process. I kept the empty packets, so I’d know what to pick up from the supermarket the next time around. It also gave me a sense of self-sufficiency.
A full stomach with good food, good company, and a sense of accomplishment is at times more satisfying than a night out.

23. Blog about it!

This is your chance to share your writing and photos.You will be making more friends along the way. I have since I’ve kept this blog. And I’m not even in a foreign country, but after all these years of living abroad, even Germany can seem odd to me at times.

24. An opportunity to discover your strengths and weaknesses

There is no better time to take a look at yourself than when you are living abroad. You think you know yourself? Try again. Under normal circumstances, our reactions are predictable. But add language confusion and different cultural expectations, then you will get to see a new you.

What used to annoy you before, you will suddenly find quaint. And vice versa. You do not have to reinvent yourself, your new environment will do this for you. Be prepared for some surprises.


Living abroad can be a very fulfilling experience if you are willing to contribute.

Our son has just recently moved to the U.K. to attend college. The first two weeks were difficult as he had a bad cold and was room-bound most of the time while being homesick. I shared some of my advice with him and since then we have not heard from him, which was two weeks ago…

The other 19 pointers can be read here at  GoOverseas 19 Ways to Reduce Homesickness When Living Abroad

Jeff Jarvis – A German Paradox

When I listened to Jeff Jarvis’s talk on Schlossblog- ein Geburtstag (a blog written by a non-conformist German who dares to blog!), I had to think back of all the encounters I had when I started blogging.

There were questions such as Why would you do that? and What do you get out of it? Forget the monetary aspect, I am in for the show. I like to report good things in town such as the Irish Pub in Oberursel as well as negative experiences such as Doctors’ Discontent in Medical Fees in Bad Homburg.

It was funny to hear Jeff talk about how Germans publicly exhibit their private parts, such as in a sauna or on the balcony, but strongly refuse the openness of the internet. He also pointed out that there are relatively few German bloggers.

Why would Germans be so open about showing off their private body parts but not their mindset? Jarvis believes it has nothing to do with the Stasi Zeit, but with the German culture. Keeping things to yourself is not about privacy, but a matter of control.

Personally, I have always wondered why the newly built townhouses in our neighborhood have such high fences for a relatively tiny yard. Well, without such a high fence, we passerby could be looking in and see what they are doing while they are striving for Ruhe und Ordnung. On the other hand, I have seen many homes in the U.S. where you would not want to block the view so as NOT to miss who is passing by.

Germans ask for transparency from firms, conglomerates (and the Vatican), but privately this is a different matter. Sharing knowledge via internet and helping others is uncool. They know knowledge has value and are therefore reluctant to share it on the net as writers could: lose face, cause envy, and seem pretentious.

I know many elderly Germans who go out of their way to help me get some information, but to do so via the net is unusual, especially by Germans in my age group, the baby boomers.

Just ask any of your German friends to leave a comment on your blog – this seems worse than going for a job interview.

I am glad somebody like Jeff Jarvis has finally put this whole enigma into words and ideas.

In the beginning, Jeff Jarvis apologized for not giving this talk in German (bear with the German introduction…) Nevertheless,  it will still take another generation of young Germans to adjust to the modern world. I have stated this before in my lectures I gave about reunification in Germany while living in Japan.

Germans are slow to change, and very habitual. Their way of going public might be word of mouth, gossip, and … showing private parts.

Listen to Jeff Jarvis’s talk on A German Paradox (scroll down a bit).

Diese Webseite verwendet Cookies. Wenn Sie auf der Seite weitersurfen, stimmen Sie der Cookie-Nutzung zu. Mehr Informationen

Diese Webseite verwendet so genannte Cookies. Sie dienen dazu, unser Angebot nutzerfreundlicher, effektiver und sicherer zu machen. Cookies sind kleine Textdateien, die auf Ihrem Rechner abgelegt werden und die Ihr Browser speichert. Die meisten der von uns verwendeten Cookies sind so genannte "Session-Cookies". Sie werden nach Ende Ihres Besuchs automatisch gelöscht. Cookies richten auf Ihrem Rechner keinen Schaden an und enthalten keine Viren. Weitere Informationen finden Sie auf der Seite “Datenschutzerklärung”.