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Navigating Homesickness as An Indian Immigrant

From chai cravings to missing dadi's hugs: Battling homesickness abroad

When you start living in a foreign country all alone, your journey is a mix of opportunities, excitement, and even some challenges. Whatever the reason is for your move to America, new experiences and adventures always await.

And amidst the ecstasy, you still feel that tingling in your stomach (No Rahul you are not hungry), that is homesickness. You feel disconnected in the new country amongst new people and also far away from your homeland, your home, your family, and your friends. But now you are finally in America and you have moved there for a better reason. Thus, you must know how to navigate homesickness as an Indian Immigrant.

What is Homesickness?

You need to understand what homesickness is before you find ways to cope with it. Homesickness in very simple terms refers to a deep longing for your homeland, family, and known environment. 

Almost everyone who lives away from home feels homesick at least once. It is not only nostalgia but rather the warmth of home that brings missing pieces of home back to life. Yes, that one corner of your house where your mother used to oil your hair and you longing for that corner in your new room in America is homesickness.

Not only at home but when you go to another country that is as different from India in its culture, traditions, food, even sound and smells, you are bound to feel different in this new country. 

You can feel lonely and want to isolate yourself because of the disconnection that you feel with this new culture and country. And want to return to familiar faces of not only your family but even your countrymen.

Reasons of Homesickness

You must have a good understanding of what makes up homesickness.

Cultural Identity

For a country like ours where cultural identity is connected with familial bonds, traditional customs, and religious practices. And then with that one flight, you are to a country where culture is so new and your culture is so difficult to fit in, the feeling of homesickness is thus born. 

The absence of your festivals, rituals, and other societal norms makes you miss the familiar warmth of home.

Communication

If you come from a region in India where English isn’t the first language and also if you are one of those people who think in their language and then translate it all in English before speaking the feelings of homesickness can be further exasperated. You might find it difficult to connect with native English speakers. 

And thus, might miss people back at home who understood your language and you were better able to communicate. Yes Anjali, we know you are funny in your native language, you don’t have to say PUN Intended after every “joke”. 

Social Network

If you have been an introvert in India and you have survived well, you might be wrong in thinking that the same shyness might work in America. That is because, if you do not have a strong social support network, you might feel homesick to an unbearable extent. 

You might feel more secluded than you could ever imagine. When you do not have anyone to provide your emotional support and homely comfort in a strange country, it is inevitable to feel homesick.

Belongingness

There might be a chance that your house in India was smaller than the apartment you currently live in in America but that house was home because you felt belonged. This might not necessarily be the case in America. 

You might feel out of place, but you can seek a sense of identity in the new country and when that isn’t met you could start homesick. Because you left “your” country, home for a strange place. when you don’t find people and connections that are safe to express yourself, you miss the safety of familiar places.

Navigating Homesickness as An Indian Immigrant

There are certain ways you could cope and navigate through homesickness as an Indian immigrant.

These ways aren’t as tough as that spot on your window pane (go clean it Rahul, it’s been weeks now).

Home It Away

The best way possible to not miss your home is to not miss it (sorry not so sorry). On a serious note, the best way to not miss home is to make another home. You could find your place here which is your home if you try to make it. 

You could cook your favorite Indian food, and decorate your living space in your Indian aesthetic. You should continue celebrating your festivals carrying forward your Indianness and keeping that homesickness meter in check.

Connect and Communicate

You need to connect with fellow Indian immigrants trying their best to make a home in America just like you. When you have people who understand what you are going through because they are feeling the same around you start feeling at ease. 

They share your culture, maybe even your religion and thus you could foster meaningful social relationships. Thus, when you create a family away from family you miss home a little less.

Tied To India

You mustn’t forget your roots and stay tied to your home and family in India. These people will provide you motivation to go on even on rainy days. 

You should keep in touch with them by frequently calling, texting, and Facetiming them. stay updated with their lives and keep them in the loop about your life. This will help you to relieve the feeling of not belonging anywhere. Because you will have these people just one call away.

Exploring the Culture

If you don’t want to feel homesick, one of the best ways could be to partake in American culture. To understand and start feeling at ease in that alien culture. You need to explore the new culture. 

This will help you make friends belonging to different communities and in no time you will have your people. And thus, your adventurous journey will be less sad with little homesickness.

Self-Care

One of the factors why we miss home so much when we are away is because we know that at home there was someone who would take care. But when you are living alone, it is very common to forget to care. And all these things build up to form homesickness. 

So, remember to take care of yourself. Meditate, exercise, eat healthy, and go out to socialize. You will be able to cope with the stress of moving to a new place and the feeling of missing home better.

How not to Navigate Your Homesickness

When there are things that you need to do to make sure that you don’t feel homesick at all times. There are things that you shouldn’t also do to make sure that your homesickness doesn’t get out of hand. 

We have mentioned these things below (and drinking the worries in a bar away goes without saying, Rahul).

Isolation

You need to stop isolating yourself in your room for long periods. Of course, it might feel like a safe haven but if you spend too much time all the time you would only spiral more and your homesickness wouldn’t go away.

Acceptance

You need to accept that you are homesick. Acceptance is the first stage to start taking care of homesickness. When you put the feelings aside you build them up. Thus, do not keep these feelings in a box.

Conclusion

Homesickness is something that no matter how hard you try, a little piece of it always stays. You can never truly not miss your home, your people, your country. 

Living in America as an Indian immigrant comes with its own set of challenges but homesickness is common throughout communities, religions, and even nationalities. As mentioned, when you accept you start working on it.

The emotional strain of navigating homesickness as an Indian immigrant is a task and we are here to help you with that task. You must accept your Indianness even in the American chaos to feel close to your home and homeland. 

You must find love here in America. A love that obviously wouldn’t compensate for the love you receive in India but love that helps you to appreciate your migration to America.

Enjoying our insights? India To States offers more thought-provoking articles.

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About The Author

Picture of Drishti Choudhary

Drishti Choudhary

Drishti is a bibliophile whose writing describes her views about everyday nuances. She writes to explore a diverse realm of thought. With a keen focus on feminism and politics, she champions equality in society.
Picture of Drishti Choudhary

Drishti Choudhary

Drishti is a bibliophile whose writing describes her views about everyday nuances. She writes to explore a diverse realm of thought. With a keen focus on feminism and politics, she champions equality in society.

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