Year Abroad Diaries: Dealing with loneliness

Different causes of loneliness you can experience on your year abroad and how to deal with it

Lenka Minarovicova
8th March 2022
Image: maxpixel
Whilst on your year abroad, you’ll most definitely feel lonely at some point. It’s natural but it’s better to be prepared in advance. The loneliness may be caused by various things and I’ve attempted to put them into categories.

1/ Culture shock

Moving to a completely new country for a year is just as exciting as scary. Different people experience this at different times – some as soon as they get to the new place, others after a few months. While getting to know new cultures is an amazing experience that will help you grow as a person, there is something comforting about one’s own culture. The way people think, the shared history and the possibility to reference these things. This was something that caught me by surprise – I expected to miss my family and friends and I knew I’d have to adjust to the new culture, but I didn’t realise there were “national inside jokes” that made me feel understood.

I didn’t realise there were “national inside jokes” that made me feel understood

2/ Personal reasons

These include illnesses or other unfortunate situations you can’t really influence. When you’re out and about, having a good time or just lots of things to do, you don’t really have that much time to think about how much you miss your home. But when you get ill, there’s not many things you can do. It may also remind you of the love and care you get at home when ill. One of the most heart-breaking moments for me was when my dog died as I was at uni. There was no one to share my grief with and it made me feel extremely lonely.

3/ Global reasons

Another example of things you have no influence on, such as pandemics and wars. These are usually very difficult to deal with even at home, so the fact that you’re somewhere all alone without the people closest to your heart is quite depressing.

You'll come out of it stronger

How to deal with it?

There are two ways how to deal with feeling lonely – distract yourself by spending some time with friends or trying out new things, seeing new places; or embrace the feeling. Cry your eyes out, your feelings are valid. And while you it may not be how you imagined your amazing year abroad, I promise, you’ll come out of it stronger.

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