Top 3 tips for dealing with homesickness in Canada
By Maria Montemayor
Posted on July 26, 2021
Perhaps you have recently arrived in Canada or maybe you have lived in Canada for several years. Either way, right now, maybe Canada does not feel like home. Winters can be too cold, people speak a different language than you, and work can be tiring and tedious. You long for your home country, the food you are used to eating, and the people that make you feel loved, safe, and protected. A part of you feels like throwing in the towel and booking a one-way plane ticket back to the country where you were born. If this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing homesickness.
What is homesickness?
Those feelings of longing and loneliness, whether they have lasted for weeks, months, or years, can indicate homesickness. According to counsellor and psychotherapist Adele Wilde, the feelings most associated with homesickness are grief, nostalgia, anxiety, depression, withdrawal and sadness. So why do we get homesick, and what can we do about it in Canada?
A clinical report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics states that “homesickness occurs to some degree in nearly everyone leaving familiar surroundings and entering a new environment.” It is common for people new to Canada to feel homesick since they are entering a new environment, and are not adjusted to the climate, people, and place. If you are feeling homesick, there are three actions you can take to help you overcome that feeling and better adjust to life in Canada.
1. Make new friends and build community.
When you have a strong support group of friends, it can help you enjoy where you are and appreciate the people you are with. Your friends can listen to you, encourage you to go outside of your comfort zone, and help you learn English. Canada is a diverse nation with people of all ages, races, and backgrounds.
You can befriend people of different ethnicities who were born in Canada and people who immigrated to Canada like you did. You will be able to gain new perspectives from all of the people that you meet. You can meet people and make friends at your school, workplace, place of worship, local community centre, or neighbourhood. Wherever you go, you can make friends by greeting people, introducing yourself, and starting a conversation.
2. Explore your city.
When you are feeling homesick, you might take comfort in reminiscing about the positive aspects of your country of origin. The problem with reminiscing is you might stop appreciating where you are and the wonderful things you are surrounded by. No matter which city you live in, all of the provinces and territories in Canada have interesting landmarks, malls, restaurants, and other places you can explore.
If you live in a bustling city like Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax, or Montréal, there are many interesting parks and places to visit by foot or public transportation. If you live in a city like Edmonton or Corner Brook, you can rent a car or carpool with someone to explore the fascinating landmarks. If you live in a rural area, you can explore a hiking trail or go fishing. Every community in Canada is worth exploring.
3. Celebrate your heritage.
Just because you can’t access all of the things from your native country does not mean that you can’t indulge in certain traditions and practices from your culture. Wear traditional clothing and outfits that remind you of home.
Go to restaurants that serve familiar food that you are craving or buy the ingredients at an ethnic grocery store and make the dishes yourself. Watch television shows, movies, and listen to music in your native language. Spend time with people who share your cultural background. Attend festivals and events that celebrate your culture, and if you can’t find any, create your own at home with your friends.
Canada has a lot to offer and you should give it a chance to surprise you and win you over. If you are able to find community, explore your city, and maintain some of your cultural practices, it might be easier for you to overcome homesickness.