Like imposter syndrome, loneliness is something everyone experiences, not just expats. But when you're living abroad, these things can hit you extra hard.
Expat and life coach Gabriela Encina came on the podcast to share insights and ideas for navigating expat loneliness and how to feel more connected in their new home country.
Gabriela's tips for loneliness while living abroad are...
- Find the things you love to do and do them. Then, you will meet people who like those things as well and you’ll have something in common to build a friendship off of.
- Present yourself the way you are and don’t try to be someone you’re not. The kind of people you want to be friends with will accept you as you are.
- If you make language-related mistakes when socializing in a foreign language, don't sweat it. The people who want to relate to you will find a way to understand you anyway.
- Be open. Just because you don’t click with someone immediately doesn’t mean you can’t develop something. Give people a second or even third chance to get to know them better.
- Remember: The low points don’t last forever! They end, and high points come.
- Share your feelings, whether that's in a journal, with your loved ones back home, or with friends or potential friends where you’re living now.
- Learn what you want and where your priorities are. Not everyone needs a bunch of friends to be happy. Maybe you are happier to be home with a book than you are juggling multiple friend groups.
This topic is one I continue to struggle with in new ways, even as my life abroad settles. I find Gabriela's tips and encouragement to be super helpful, so listen along here!