Thriving Beyond Homesickness: Empowering Strategies for Teaching Abroad


Welcome to a guide that will empower you to overcome homesickness while teaching abroad. Going through the experience of feeling homesick is common among teachers in a foreign country. This article aims to provide straightforward and supportive tips and strategies to help you overcome homesickness, allowing you to enjoy your teaching experience abroad to the fullest.


Understanding Homesickness:

Homesickness is a term used to describe the feeling of sadness, loss, and longing for home that people can experience when living away from home – and it’s no different for teachers. As a teacher living overseas, it is normal to experience homesickness, given you’re living and working in an environment that is new and unfamiliar. Common symptoms of homesickness include feelings of loneliness, sadness, and lack of motivation. It is essential to know what you’re dealing with before you can tackle it directly.


Why Teachers Experience Homesickness Abroad:

It is a normal and natural reaction to feel homesick while teaching abroad. The many challenges that come with being in a foreign country, like cultural differences, language barriers, and a lack of friends or familiar faces, can all trigger homesickness. Knowing why you might feel homesick can make a world of difference in how you deal with it.



Strategies to Overcome Homesickness:

Here are some actionable strategies that we believe can help you to overcome homesickness:

1. Build a support network

Building a support network is essential when embarking on your teaching journey. Reach out to fellow colleagues or locals to help build a sense of community and support. Connect with other teachers who understand the unique challenges and triumphs of this role. Together, you can share advice, resources, and even swap stories over a cup of coffee. By surrounding yourself with a supportive network, you’ll have a reliable group of people who have your back and can provide guidance whenever you need it. You’re not in this alone – together, we can create a thriving community of teachers!

2. Keep in touch with family and friends back home

We understand that being away from home can sometimes bring feelings of homesickness. That’s why it’s important to keep in touch with your loved ones back home. Regular communication with family and friends can help alleviate those feelings and provide a sense of connection. Share updates about your teaching adventures, exchange stories about your lives, and make plans for quality time together when you return. Whether it’s a quick phone call, a video chat, or even a handwritten letter, staying connected to your support system will bring a sense of comfort and joy, no matter where you are in the world.

3. Explore the local culture and engage in activities outside your usual routine

As a teacher, you have the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in different communities and experience the local culture firsthand. Take advantage of this chance to explore and engage in activities outside your usual routine. Visit local museums, attend community events, try new foods, and discover hidden gems in your new surroundings. By stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing the local culture, you not only broaden your horizons but also deepen your connection to the place you’re temporarily calling home. Let curiosity be your guide as you embark on exciting new adventures!

4. Create a routine

In the midst of the unknown, creating a routine can provide a sense of familiarity and calmness. Set up a schedule that works for you, taking into consideration your teaching assignments, personal time, and self-care. Start your day with a morning routine, whether it’s enjoying a cup of coffee, practicing yoga, or going for a walk. Establish regular meal times, allocate time for lesson planning, and incorporate activities that bring you joy and relaxation. A routine not only helps you stay organized but also helps maintain a healthy work-life balance. By establishing a sense of structure, you’ll feel more grounded and ready to take on each day with confidence and ease. Take control of your teaching career, one routine at a time!

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Coping with Homesickness in the Classroom:

It’s important to remember that while you may be feeling homesick, you still need to maintain a professional demeanor in the classroom. Here are some tips for coping with homesickness in the classroom:

  1. Practice mindfulness exercises – Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and other mindfulness techniques can help you stay present and focused.
  2. Create a Positive Classroom Environment – Teachers can foster a sense of community and inclusivity among students that create a positive classroom environment.


Feeling homesick is a normal and natural experience for anyone teaching abroad. The tips and strategies provided in this guide will help you overcome it and enjoy your teaching experience abroad to the fullest. Remember to build a support network, explore the local culture, and create routines. By incorporating mindfulness exercises and creating a positive classroom environment, you’ll thrive in your new environment. It’s our hope that this guide empowers you to take control of your substitute teaching career on your terms.


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