6 Tips for Coping with Loneliness When Living Abroad

6 Tips for Coping with Loneliness When Living Abroad

Coping with loneliness can be one of the biggest challenges when living abroad.

On average I get one email a week from an expat who is struggling with loneliness. Sometimes they’re asking for advice. Other times, they just need to share their story.  Having lived abroad four times – first in S. Korea, then in Thailand (2 different cities), U.S.A. and now Germany (2 different cities) I have found a few different things that have worked well for me.

loneliness when living abroad

Joining a group or club may give you a different outlook on life.

<h3.#1 Tip for Coping with Loneliness when Living Abroad:  Join a Group/Club/Team

I’m a big fan of groups and clubs since they bring people together with common interests.  In Bangkok I belonged to a ruby team, even though I had never played before.   In S. Korea I joined a local gym.  In Munich I joined two hiking clubs, a book club, a badminton group and Internations – a community for expats. Being an active member of a group is a great way to meet people. You’ll see the same people on a regular basis. That increases  your chance of developing meaningful friendships when living abroad.

What if there is no group/club/team I’m interested in?
Create one through Meetup.com or Facebook Groups.  It just takes a few minutes and is free to do.  You can create a group for whatever your interests. Whether it be around cultural events, hiking in the Alps,  sporting events or bringing coffee lovers together .  Chances are if you feel there is no group that meets your interests in your area you are not the only one.

Alternatively, you can join an online group.  I do think it’s better to connect with people in your area if possible though.  There are online book clubs and groups for almost every activity under the sun.  I’m a member of a couple of travel blogging groups. The fellow travel bloggers I have “met” through these groups have provided with me with a sense of connection. That’s been especially helpful on days when I’m feeling particularly lonely.

2.  Connect with Other Expats Through Blogs/Expat Facebook Groups

There’s no shortage of expat blogs and Facebook groups devoted to expats living in the same location. By reading through a few posts it should become fairly clear to you whether you have anything in common with that person.  If you find that you relate to someone, contact them to see if they’re interested in meeting.  I met a good friend in Munich this way and was grateful that she reached out. In a Facebook group you may find that there’s already an established event that you can attend.

3.  Make the First Move

Having lived in Calgary for the last 9 years, I had gotten lazy without realizing it. I already had an established circle of friends and made no efforts to find new ones.  After moving to Stuttgart it soon became apparent that invitations wouldn’t be rolling in. OK, let’s be honest –  nonexistent.

I knew that I would have to make the first move. Despite that being out of my comfort zone. I started by initiating a once a week lunch after German class with my fellow classmates. This was a nice opportunity to get to know them better.  I started extending invitations to people I had met through various events. Before long I was organizing day trips to explore the region with a couple of girls. They became friends in the process. Although none of us live in Stuttgart any longer, we’re still in touch.

I held a Christmas party that ended up having people from 6 different nationalities.  In Munich, whenever I find an interesting event, I invite someone to attend with me.  It doesn’t always work out. Sometimes it’s a flashback to dating.  Some encounters will be awkward. you will have to deal with rejection. Nobody likes being rejected -even if it’s a potential friend.  But like dating, making new friends is a numbers game. The more invites you give out, the more that are likely to be accepted. You’re also likely to receive more in return.

4.  Take a Class

Language classes are good for meeting other expats. They’re also useful for trying to learn a language. Exercise  classes are good for meeting locals.  I’ve done both.  It’s important to me that I have both expat and German friends.    Don’t let the language scare you off of an exercise class.  I’ve done a variety of exercise classes in German. While I haven’t understood every word, a lot of the communication is visual. You just do what the instructor is doing.  I’ve also found  my fellow classmates to be extremely helpful once they realize I don’t understand everything.  Next up is a cooking class in German!  Yikes – stay tuned!

5. Set Social Goals for Yourself

I find that setting goals for myself is incredibly helpful when living abroad.  Some of my goals have included things like:  invite one new person a week to something (make the first move), sign up for a yoga class (in German), and  sign up for  an activity with expats at least once a week.  It sounds silly, but by setting goals for yourself it’s a good check to see how proactive you’re being to absolve your loneliness.  I’ve found when I’m feeling really lonely that I often haven’t done anything about it recently. Having measurable goals is a good kick in the pants.

6.  Don’t Call Home Too Often

This might seem like strange advice. From my observations,  expats who spend a couple of hours a day talking with people from home seem lonelier than people who spend less time connecting with people from home.  Don’t get me wrong,  it’s extremely important to maintain those connections from home. But if you’re spending 2 hours a day doing it, then you’re not out meeting new people. You’ll never truly feel settled in your new country.  It’s a fine balance.

7. Further Reading on Expat Life

Whenever I’m struggling with something I read up on it. Be sure to check out  How to Live the Good Life Abroad, in which I share my top 5 tips for expat living and my #1 Tip for Being Happy When Living Abroad. It may surprise you.

If you’re an expat living in Munich, be sure to check out How to Thrive as an Expat in Munich.

What are your tips for coping with loneliness when living abroad?

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their active holidays in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.
2016-11-12T15:34:53+00:00

59 Comments

  1. Eileen Ludwig November 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    Great advice for anyone moving to an unknown place. Could use some of these to expand my reach here. I am so used to going alone to everything and I enjoy doing that BUT sometimes it would be nice to have someone to go with. Will work on doing that.

    I don’t feel lonely most of the time. Loneliest time in my life was when I was married (just wrong person)

  2. Carmen November 6, 2011 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this post Laurel. I’ve been living in New Zealand for almost four years and have definitely felt the loneliness. My life included a partner when I moved and included him until earlier this year, so my circumstances have been interesting. This year has been very telling regarding ‘friends’ and acquaintances. I’ve had to get very strong this year. Your suggestions are great and echo those of expat friends of mine. It really means putting yourself out there more than ever. Most of my expat friends don’t seem to follow your suggestion #6 though – “Don’t call home too often”. I recently found out how often some of my girlfriends speak to family back home and was really surprised. I almost never speak to family because of the cost or because of the Internet connection problems with Skype. Your suggestions are a good reminder.

  3. Laurel November 6, 2011 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    @Eileen – I do a lot alone as well, but I’m finding that when I’m in the process of building a social circle that I really need to put an extra effort in to doing things with people. I’ve heard of loneliness while being married and am sorry to hear you experienced that, but am glad that you seem much happier now.

    @Carmen – Sorry to hear you’ve had a rough year which is even more difficult when you’re living in a foreign country. I find as I get older I don’t need a lot of friends, just a few good ones who will be there in good times and in bad. I know a lot of people that don’t follow suggestion #6 either, and while I do think it’s a personal choice, I do think there is such a thing as being too connected with the old home and not connected enough with the new home.

  4. Turkey's For Life November 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Really good tips there, Laurel. A few people have asked us in the past how we settle in as expats – but that’s the thing. We’re US! Much easier that there are two of us to go and sit in a bar or wherever and get chatting. We’ve never needed to do start up a group or join a group but I know if I was on my own, a group would be a lifeline. Great that you have the guts to leave your comfort zone too and get out there. Even as a couple, that’s been tough sometimes.
    Julia

  5. Andrea November 7, 2011 at 12:12 am - Reply

    These are excellent tips! I’ve always relied on the internet and also classes to meet people abroad – I find there are always great people out there in the same situation

  6. jamie - cloud people adventures November 7, 2011 at 12:12 am - Reply

    really like the join a club / group idea. connecting with people who share similar interests seems the best way too settle in. got to get onto that myself!

  7. adventureswithben November 7, 2011 at 12:23 am - Reply

    I like going to a movie theater and seeing a first-run American film. I know going to the movies alone is the epitome of loneliness, but it makes me feel like I’m at home.

  8. Steve November 7, 2011 at 1:14 am - Reply

    Great article Laurel, and a good plan even for those living in their home country who just want to change things a little. Following your advice would sure make a difference in somebody’s day to day life, whether or not their living abroad.

  9. Abby November 7, 2011 at 4:52 am - Reply

    The last one is soo true! You have to keep in touch with home “just enough.” Just taking language classes always helped me with my loneliness — both because it introduced me to local friends, and because it made me feel more at “home” in my adopted city. Isn’t the new online world of expats life-saving?!

  10. inka November 7, 2011 at 5:52 am - Reply

    Making the first move is really essential. It isn’t easy, particulalry not in a foreign country and even less if, like me, one is living alone. It takes a bit of pizzazz, but it’s amazing how often people respond. They themselves are shy and if someone talks to them frist they thaw. Internet is also a fine thing, but nothing beats personal contact. Yes, there are rejections, but so what? Smile and move on.Say: their loss, not mine.

  11. Mette Christensen November 7, 2011 at 7:40 am - Reply

    Thanks for sound advice, Laurel. And I don’t even think you have to be an expat to reap the benefits.

  12. Angela November 7, 2011 at 9:08 am - Reply

    I’ve never really felt lonely anywhere I was, but maybe because I’ve always unconsciously followed your points 🙂 Only when I thought about it I felt I wasn’t establishing any roots anywhere and that scared me a bit. When I moved to Shanghai I thought it was going to be difficult to make friends mainly for the hardships of the language, but didn’t really have much time to complain, in less than no time I had so many friends I hardly managed to a night home!

  13. Adrian B. November 7, 2011 at 10:02 am - Reply

    Really useful advice and, like Mette Christensen and Steve said before, these are very useful even if you are not an expat: people often feel lonely in their home country too.

  14. robin November 7, 2011 at 10:15 am - Reply

    This is all right on the money , it is a real issue for many expats and these are great tips

  15. Christopher November 7, 2011 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Great tips! I think I do all of them.

  16. Zhu November 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    These are good tip and I know exactly what you mean when you make a parallel between looking for new friends and dating!

    It’s funny how you feel comfortable and close to some people right away, and for others it just doesn’t work.

    I don’t get homesick too much but I did feel very lonely in Canada for a few years, mostly because we didn’t know anyone there. Looking back, I should have been more proactive but I had so much to sort out that getting friends wasn’t my priority.

  17. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler November 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    Great tips. I have never actually lived abroad, but when I solo traveled through Europe, I definitely felt home sick at times.

  18. Sue November 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    Lots of great ideas. I find sometimes the loneliness can prevent you from doing what you know would help. Sometimes simply accepting you ARE lonely is a great start. When I found myself more lonely after this most recent move, I was pleased to read a book about loneliness. Details are in an older blog. Worth a read especially if you are feeling cognitive effects.

    http://suesrelocationrambling.blogspot.com/2011/10/lonely-after-relocating.html

  19. Stephanie - The Travel Chica November 8, 2011 at 3:37 am - Reply

    When I first got to Buenos Aires, I joined a running club. It really helped me get into a routine and start talking to locals.

  20. Laurel November 8, 2011 at 9:57 am - Reply

    @Julia – It’s true, it’s easier when you’re with someone else, but I still join groups without my husband, he has no interest in my bookclub and we’ve also signed up for a hiking and badminton group together which we both enjoy.

    @Andrea – I agree, what did we ever do before the internet? 🙂

    @Jamie – I just find it speeds things up a little, rather than trying to randomly meet people and hope you have something in common with them.

    @Ben – I do that too! It’s nice to have your own language, culture, and humor, even if it’s just a couple of hours.

    @Steve – Good point and I actually did join a hiking club in my home city when all my friends started having babies and I had no one to hike with.

    @Abby – Language classes helped me too, it’s nice to meet other people in the same boat.

    @Inka – Agreed and the more often you do it, the easier it gets.

    @Mette – I think you’re right, it’s good to get out of your comfort zone, even if it’s in your homeland.

    @Angela – That’s great to hear. I find sometimes it works more easily than others. I had an easier time in Bangkok than I did in Tegu, but that was also due to work circumstances.

    @Adrian – That’s true, especially when friends are at a different stage in their lives than you are. In my home city, I found that I had lots of friends to go for a walk with on Sunday, but no one to hang out with on a Friday night, since they would all be with their familes.

    @Robin – Thanks.

    @Christopher – That’s great, then you’re probably not lonely 🙂

    @Zhu – I know it’s strange how you click with some people better than others, even though on paper the connection doesn’t make sense. I think it’s hard for expats to focus on making friends when there is so much going on with just moving, often a new job, etc. I always make an effort right from the start though as I know I won’t feel settled unless I have a few friends.

    @Christy – Traveling can get lonely as well, but I know that for many groups, such as the meetup.com groups it’s possible just to join for 1 event, so that would work when traveling as well.

    @Sue – Thanks for sharing and it’s true, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and not make the effort when you’re feeling lonely, which is when you need to make it the most.

  21. Barry November 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    I can relate to what you say from earlier times in my life. The past few years have been a gradual migration to the freedom of being solo. Often my companion is the wilderness and my ability to achieve is enhanced by the freedom of hiking, or scrambling unemcumbered. The perfect hiking partner is one who shares the importance of recognizing intermittent absense. Excellent post. Good suggestions. I follow in my Father’s footsteps.

  22. Christy @ Technosyncratic November 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    These are really great tips, Laurel. I’ve never experienced this (as long as Kali and I are traveling together, I don’t get too lonely or miss home too much), but I imagine that might change some day.

  23. Hopskipandjump.blogspot.com November 8, 2011 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Brilliant article, thanks so much. I’m an Australian living in London, and it can certainly be hard to make friends sometimes (and hard to get out of the house, because it’s so bloody cold and dark at this time of year). But, of course, it’s important to get out and meet new people – but to also remember that you’re not going to quickly make the same friendship circle you had back home because those friendships too years to create.

  24. Debbie Beardsley November 8, 2011 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Great advice for anyone even if they are just moving to a new city! It is important to remember that it takes effort just like any other relationship you have made in the past. I’ll keep these handy even though I’m not an expat.

  25. jade November 9, 2011 at 2:44 am - Reply

    I always say join in tour groups to meet other people. I don’t love organized tours usually, but meeting new people makes everything so much fun!!

  26. Cole @ FourJandals November 11, 2011 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    It is so hard not to contact home all the time. I call Mum and Dad once a week/fortnight but Adela is on skype at least 3 times a week. I do it mainly to keep them happy though but is nice knowing that someone is always thinking of you when you are away from home.

  27. Michael Figueiredo November 12, 2011 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    Really good advice! Thanks for sharing Laurel. 🙂

  28. 50+ and on the Run November 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    Some good tips. As I was reading, I realized that I do some of these things AT HOME when I’m feeling a little blah or unconnected. I hadn’t thought of doing it, but now I think I’m going to join a tour group at home one of these days. Thanks for the thought.
    Nancy

  29. Ali November 15, 2011 at 5:27 am - Reply

    I’m so glad you posted this! This summer moving to Freiburg to be with Andy was tough. I took a German class but it turned out to be all college students from other countries, not exactly ideal for making friends. I didn’t put enough effort into finding other ways of meeting people but I will definitely take some of this advice when I’m back home from my trip.

  30. Bex November 15, 2011 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    This is such good advice and all very true. It’s alot of trial and error, some things will work and some won’t, but above all of this remember that just as the good days pass so do the lonely days, it won’t be this way forever, life always changes. The past week I hit a lonely phase, so I gave in to my feelings and curled up on the sofa, cried as though my insides were going to burst out, watched English movies, drank tea and ate loads of chocolate, it was a good comfort for me. Now I’ve picked myself up, cleaned my apartment, answered emails from friends back home and will get back to doing some artwork, writing a personal blog, reading books, and venturing out to explore another town. It’s tough when you feel lonely in a foreign country, and unfortunately is even tougher when you’re a female alone and have all the added security issues of having to be slightly guarded as to how much information you give out about yourself – catch 22 when trying to make friends. The language barrier is really hard too, everyone learns at different speeds and the locals speak in dialects so striking up conversation isn’t so easy as it would be in your own language, so give yourself a break. You’re not alone and these online blogs are fab to connect with people and realise that actually you’re doing really well. Tomorrow is another day, go into the local tourist office and see if any tours interest you, chat with the tourist rep working in there, you never know, they may become a new friend! Thanks Laurel for posting these top tips.

  31. Raymond @ Man On The Lam November 19, 2011 at 1:30 am - Reply

    Loneliness does suck! But sometimes you just have to put yourself out there to get the friend ball rolling. Great tips!

  32. […] a foreign country also comes with a downside – loneliness. This article has some useful tips on how to overcome the isolation of being an expat and start connecting with […]

  33. Andrew February 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    I do an English club twice a month that is a great group of people to meet and hang out. So many of them are expats and can understand often what I am going through and can offer advice. I have recently joinedthe local couch surfers meetups too. That is another group, although much different dynamics, that usually speaks english and has an interest in travel. When I was back in the US, some of my best friends were met through a weekly gaming group.

    So really the club/group aspect is good even if you are NOT an expat and just moving to a new place.

  34. Mel February 22, 2012 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    These are all good ideas, but just to point out, not all of us move to places where we are even able to find language classes or fellow expats. I moved to Brazil with my husband three years ago, and we live in a really small town here with no other expats. I ended up having to learn Portuguese on my own because there were no courses available. I don’t want to seem entirely negative, but my experience of making friends has not been great either. I am used to having a good circle of friends back at home, but here, my attempts have been constantly hindered by bitchiness and superficiality on the part of other women. I really hate to generalise, and so after my initial experiences with this, I did keep trying and being open to making friends. In the end, I found myself feeling so disappointed after being let down time and time again, that I essentially gave up and decided I would just have to be self sufficient. These days, my husband and I do have some friends we go out with, but, tellingly, they are all male (so not really the ‘close companions’ I had hoped for, but a welcome relief, nonetheless.). At home in England, I had plenty of female friends, but I guess the attitude here in that respect is just not for me. Sad, but true.

  35. Alisha November 2, 2012 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Loneliness can kill you inside! Thank you very much for these wonderful advices.
    I’m not really the typ doing and enjoy doing a lot alone. I reserve me some time alone from time to time of course like at home reading a book, surffing in the internet or whatever. But going out and visiting any places I prefer doing with someone else. Therefore when I moved to leave all my friends at home the first days, weeks, even months were really hard. Sometimes it isn’t easy to socialize and make new friends. I think it depends a lot on the circumstances.
    I started a new job and in my office there weren’t a lot of possibilities to connect therefore a possible source less. So I felt in some way lonely very soon. Especially because i didn’t consider #6 😉 So then I consulted an online coach because I really felt needing help (can recommend Your24hCoach, very good advices).
    Finally it was really simple. The first are like a shock of course, all is new and you don’t have persons with a tight bond around you. But it’s true, you just have to leave your comfort zone. One new connection leads you to another one, and so on.
    When moving alone i can give you the advice to move in a shared accomodation with mates in similar circumstances like you. Like that you have a first source and basis. Living alone makes it a lot more complicated.

    • Laurel November 20, 2012 at 10:08 am - Reply

      @Alisha – Thank you for sharing your experience. I think loneliness is something most if not all people experience when living abroad, but people don’t talk about it. Great that you sought out a Coach and that it helped. Also great tip about finding shared accommodation.

  36. Penny Hollison January 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for your shared advice, Laurel! Everything you mentioned is so true! I went through the same situation when travelling and working abroad. I struggled for a while with the fears of being lonely and the unknown. When I moved for working abroad the first time, I was faced to my fear. I felt very lonely at the beginning – even if I had the opportunity to talk on Skype with my family and friends. I was looking up some advice on the Internet how other people overcame this situation too and ended up addressing my issues to an online life coach (I can recommend Your24hCoach) to get me some help and tips. I got a lot of very good and interesting advice and above all interesting insights in subjects of communications skills. The main message was to do anything surrounding you with people and communicating with them, for example a cooking course. I can recommend you to move in a shared accommodation whit people sharing a similar background like you do. So you have already a basis of relationships on which you can build on. It really helped me to develop my own personality and the ability to communicate with other people. I highly recommend for everyone to go abroad at least once! Just do it – it makes you stronger!

    • Laurel January 25, 2013 at 5:32 pm - Reply

      @Penny – Thanks so much for sharing your experience and for your advice. I agree, everyone should live abroad at least once in their lives. We’re stronger than we think we are.

  37. Tanya February 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    There is a caveat to joining clubs abroad. When I moved to Japan I took a friend’s advice that joining a club would force me to talk, making my Japanese language skills much better through practice. In reality my language skills weren’t up to the challenge yet. Sometimes joining a club when you cannot speak or understand the casual conversation around you can make you feel more isolated, not less.

    I guess this wouldn’t apply to a language club; I wish I had thought of that instead of taking private lessons.

    • Laurel February 11, 2013 at 9:54 am - Reply

      @Tanya – Thanks for sharing your comments and for bringing up a good point. I was I was mainly referring to clubs where English is the main language, since you’re right, language barriers can make you feel like even more of an outsider. I do belong to a couple of clubs where German is the main language and although my German is far from perfect, it’s good enough that I can understand most of what’s being said.

      • Marie January 20, 2014 at 11:18 am - Reply

        Thank you for sharing this online laurel.. I have been in Germany now for nearly two years.. I do not speak german only a very few words, not for want of trying to learn it..I moved here because i meet my new partner on line and feel in love… I have my children with me but as much as i love them with all my heart i’m still lonely here. I haven’t been able to make any friends at all even tho i have tried again and again.. My parner works and my kids are at school all morning which leaves me on my own till they come home… My kids seem happier here.. My oldest has made friends and has more freedom here.. Where in England she had nothing but bullying… Same for my boys…. Although my boys are 9 years old the play on the computer more these days then wanting to keep me company (not that i blame them 🙂 ..) I’m unable to take german classes as i can’t afford them… Yes i have asked my partner to teach me as he use to be a teacher… But he is so tired when he comes home from work… The kids sometimes like to help but get bored as i’m such a slow learner…. I have tried to talk to the other mothers at the boys school but they look at me in dicussed and said a few words i wish not to repeat… I only smiled and said hello… My partner has his friends and all are lovely but are alot older the i am. As my partner is 20 years older then me…. I would talk to my family back home but they have never called me here as they say it cost to much…i call them but stopped as it felt like they don’t wish to really talk to me… This lonelyness is killing me… I know i need to find something to help but i never found much to do here…

        • Laurel July 30, 2014 at 8:47 am - Reply

          @Marie – So sorry to hear that you’re struggling. Here is a list of free online resources to learn German: http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/german/, http://www.slowgerman.com/,https://www.goethe.de/en/spr/ueb.html. I also found children’s books helpful in the beginning and had a library card which is really cheap. I really struggled to learn German as well and am still not fluent, but it does get easier.

          Re: friends, I use Skype, since most of my friends back in Canada aren’t on Skype, I have the pay-as you-go option which costs a few cents per minute – much cheaper than international rates and usually a one hour call costs me $1.80.

          I also think it’s important to find local friends as well though. Have you tried Toytown for a list of events?

          I’m sending you positive vibes and hope things will get easier for you. Hang in there and let me know how you’re doing.

  38. Pat Ormsby February 20, 2013 at 3:22 am - Reply

    This is great advice and good sharing! One aspect of living abroad that should not be underestimated is culture shock. Your expat friends on-line or in person can be a crucial resource during your transition into a new culture. Even when you are fluent in a new language and are interacting with the local people daily, you will find that you cannot connect with them on a deep level and they cannot understand your different point of view. Don’t get too discouraged, but keep trying. In time, you develop the ability to connect more deeply. After 28 years in Japan, I now have strong friendships and deep conversation with both the old and the young here. A lot of ex-pats in Japan become writers–another way to connect deeply with others, when local conversation is too shallow.

    • Laurel February 20, 2013 at 8:13 am - Reply

      @Pat – Thanks Pat. Good point and excellent advice. 28 years in Japan is a long time, sounds like you’ve adapted very well.

  39. Alex February 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    I’m having a week of homesickness, and these tips are just what I needed!
    It’s strange; I’ve moved a few times now, I don’t know why it’s affecting me so acutely this week.
    I guess keeping positive and throwing myself into new challenges/going to more expat things is the way forward!
    Good luck to everyone

    • Laurel August 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm - Reply

      @Alex – So glad they helped. I have up and down weeks too, even 3 years later. Hope you’re feeling better now.

  40. Asking the Right Questions, Giving the Right Answers <英感想> November 30, 2013 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    […] am aware of my own struggle and I am trying to be optimistic. After reading articles from Monkeys and Mountains, the advice she gave made me think that maybe I should be expanding my realm further and asking […]

  41. Marius August 27, 2015 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    Hi Laurel,

    Thanks for this post. At the moment I am planning to relocate, so you gave me a hope of not being lonely abroad 😀

    • Laurel August 31, 2015 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      @Marius – Best of luck! I think it’s only natural to get lonely at times when you live abroad, but it’s also a good opportunity to push yourself out of your comfort zone and make new friends. Best of luck!

      • Rajadurai March 30, 2017 at 4:17 pm - Reply

        pushing yourself out of comfort zone.. Well said

  42. Lis K September 22, 2015 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the great post, Laurel!:)

    I am currently living in the Czech Republic, and I do feel lonely. I don’t speak Czech and I feel like Czech people are cold, and sometimes rude, not only to foreigners but also to other Czech people (I hope if there is any Czech read this, he/ she can say that I am wrong ;p)

    Today I signed up for Czech lesson, and hopefully things will get better after I know the language.

    Cheers to you all who are also struggling with the life abroad 😉

    • Laurel September 30, 2015 at 9:52 pm - Reply

      @Lis – Living abroad is an adjustment. I can’t speak for Czech people as I’ve only been to the Czech Republic once, but if I had to sum up the difference between Germans and Canadians in one sentence it would be “Germans value honesty, Canadians value friendliness.” We can interpret their behaviour as cold or rude, while they interpret ours as fake and insincere. Once I got this, I understood why Germans in general weren’t friendly – it’s not something that they value. Perhaps the same is true for Czech people. I definitely think learning the language makes a huge difference, it gives you more confidence in day to day life and widens your circle of friends. Best of luck!

  43. Simon December 16, 2015 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    Hello! Thanks for the tips, Laurel!
    I believe everything here does apply to every expat I know…
    Especially about moving to Japan. One question, when you move to another country, is it important to also start buying and using media from their region? Because I know of video gamers who import games from other regions and when I bought more modern game consoles, Unlike my parents who used Japan/Asia region software, My modern hardware and games are mostly the North American region (I am Taiwanese who is currently living in Canada). Thanks! ^^

  44. maria April 11, 2016 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    Hi,I recently moved to the US as my partner us in the military and I am so lonely,he works all day and we live 7 miles away from town and I don’t drive, so I am in my own all the time, its so lonely and I am so depressed

    • Laurel April 14, 2016 at 3:42 pm - Reply

      @Maria – I’m so sorry to hear this. Is it possible to get a bike so that you can cycle into town? My heart truly goes out to you. If there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know.

  45. Anu October 18, 2016 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Hi, I live in newzealand from last 3 years i feel very bored and lonely. I came from a different country and I have different culture and here I don’t have any friends apart from my family I don’t anyone here and I don’t have a job here this took me to dippresion. I don’t know what to do. If you have any suggestions for this please let me know…

    • Laurel October 21, 2016 at 10:34 am - Reply

      @Anu – So sorry to hear that you’re having a hard time. In addition to the tips in the article, I think it’s important to get out everyday, and try to meet people with similar interests. Often having a similar interest helps to bridge cultural gaps. Best of luck.

  46. Heather Hicks November 17, 2016 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    The biggest thing I find is to make sure you maintain connections with at least someone. I have studied a lot on this, reading currently Four Seasons of Loneliness by JW Freiberg. He talks about 4 individuals who have dealt with isolation and loneliness and how they got there and what transpired. It’s really interesting to see what can get a person to that point. Maintaining connections is high on the list!

    • Laurel November 23, 2016 at 5:26 pm - Reply

      @Heather – Agreed, connections are so important. Thanks for sharing the book, it sounds like a very interesting read.

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