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Home is a Feeling: The Friends and Community Edition

Home is a Feeling: The Friends and Community Edition

March 18th, 2020

Moving abroad can be an unpredictable experience for each person. You cannot be entirely sure of what to expect. But, there’s no denying the excitement, fulfilment, and endless possibilities attached to this move. For many, it can involve a long wait, coupled with having to try different pathways to reach the same destination. That feeling of ‘you have arrived’ is every expat’s trophy moment for it signifies the start of everything they dreamed of. But, the novelty of having arrived is exhilarating until some time has passed and you are hit with the question ‘what next’? You probe further to realise having ‘arrived’ also involves the feeling of leaving something behind.

Home is a feeling, not a place, do you agree?
It may take the need of having to create a new home for yourself to learn home is a feeling, not a place. More than a location, it is about family, food, culture, tradition, shared experiences, friends and community. And when you move to a new place devoid of these elements, you understand their value and input in shaping the quality of your life. Not having family around for one can be a huge hurdle for many expatriates living abroad. No longer being able to be a part of general meets or key celebrations in your friend’s lives is another factor that can leave you feeling disconnected.

How your new home can exude the feeling of home
It’s all about people. They ground us, grow with us, and give us a sense of belonging we need. While most expat life tips focus on getting it right with your budgeting, saving and investing, it is equally important to cultivate that sense of home in the place you just moved to. The details of immersing yourself in a new country and culture can be overwhelming. But that’s also where the beauty of community shines brightest. As an expat living abroad, it is imperative that you have a community of friends like family who will accompany you on the journey of discovering the who, what, when, how, and why of this new season. To illustrate better: relocating to a new country can be like going on an adventure ride. You don’t know what to expect, but you know you want to enjoy the experience. The question is, are you more likely to enjoy the ride alone or with your favourite people sitting in the seats attached to yours.

Making new friends like family and getting involved in a community is that ecosystem that helps expats all over the world stay afloat when they are homesick, overwhelmed or weary. Your family and ambition may be the inspiration behind your move, but your newfound community is the sustaining strength needed to keep you going. You may not realise it, but they’re the building blocks for what the future holds for you in the new country. You could be physically away from the place you’ve always known to be ‘home’, but that doesn’t mean you cannot feel at home in a new place. After all, home is never a place always a feeling, and though the people who invoked those feelings may be further off than usual, you can always add to that circle of love, friendship, family, and home. Yes, these new additions to your circle may be multicultural, multilingual, multireligious, but they will slowly yet surely make you feel like home.