When I first moved to Singapore, it took me about six months to settle. I found it a lot more difficult to acclimatise here than when I moved to Hanoi. I feel like I made a few mistakes when I moved, so I wanted to share some tips on how to cope with homesickness, to help other expats not make the same mistakes I did.
Join Expat Meet-Up Groups
When I first arrived in Singapore, I had some friends come to visit me from the UK. While it was amazing to see them, I spent the first month or so with them experiencing all the tourist spots in Singapore. This made me feel like I too was a tourist, not a resident. Years later, I joined several meet up groups; not only was it a great way to make new friends, but it also made me feel like Singapore is truly my home, as I was experiencing all sorts of cool places, not just the tourist traps.
Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
I really do think that trying new things and getting out of one’s comfort zone helps to break up mundane routine; having the same routine can create spats of great boredom can often leave one feeling lonely. So I do think that going out to new places, such as hawkers, parks or even MRT stations you’ve never been to, not only makes you feel settled, but breaks up a boring routine.
Host Your Own Culture’s Events
This I think is a really cool idea; just because you live overseas doesn’t mean you have to skip all the holidays you would celebrate at home. I’ve been invited to Diwali parties, 4th of July gatherings and Eurovision parties in Singapore and I could really tell that the respective hosts really felt like it was home away from home. It was a great way to experience others’ cultures and customs, and it brings us all closer together
Stay In Touch
Keeping in touch with those from home is incredibly important, and with technological advancements, it’s easier now more than ever to keep in contact. However, I do think there is a right and a wrong way about doing it. I’ve learnt that setting a rigid time every week to call home, limits your flexibility; sometimes you may be out doing something, and having to rush home for a call can make you feel disconnected with Singapore. Calling home when you and are family are totally free and chilled makes the phone conversations much more enjoyable, and less homesick because you’ve been having a great time in Singapore!
Ultimately, moving away from home is hard, and whilst our family is not here, we are lucky enough to be able to choose our friends and who we spend time with. Surrounding yourself with understanding and supportive people, who are open to sharing experiences with you, will help you settle right in as an expat living in Singapore.