10 tips for coping with homesickness when you move to Spain

Woman homesick in Spain

Feeling homesick when you move to Spain is common, particularly once the excitement of the first few weeks dies down.

The change from positivity to negativity in expats is well-documented and known as ‘culture shock’.

This period of adaptation to the reality of your new country and its challenges can be difficult to cope with.

At this point, many expats throw in the towel, but it’s worth doing all you can to overcome this stage.

Read on to discover ten tips for coping with homesickness when you move to Spain.

1. Don’t expect it to be plain sailing

When you first move to Spain, you’ll probably feel excited about the warm weather, easy-going lifestyle and novelty of new surroundings. This sunshine-tinted vision may be shattered as soon as something goes wrong. To avoid this sharp reality check, keep your expectations realistic:

Yes, the weather is generally great in Spain, but when it rains it pours.

Yes, it is part of the EU but the red tape runs long.

And yes, you might have done a crash course in Spanish but that doesn’t mean you’ll understand everything.

2. Take each day at a time

In Spain, as in every country, some days are easier than others. Take them one at a time and try not to be overwhelmed by the challenges.

3. Make the most of the best

Remember that you decided to move to Spain for a reason.

Stay focused on that reason and make the most of it.

For example, if your move to Spain was to enjoy better weather, make sure you go out and enjoy it.

Or if you moved to Spain for the culture, make a point of taking part in cultural activities on a regular basis.

4. Keep an open mind

Even if you move to an area in Spain where there’s a well-established expat community, you’re still in a different country.

Everything about Spain is unique – its gastronomy, culture, people, scenery… Keep an open mind to everything you come across.

Try it all and then decide if you like it or not.

5. Join in

One of the best ways to adapt to a new country and way of doing things is to embrace local life.

Take part in activities and events in your area.

This not only means you meet new people and make friends (see No 7 below), it also gets you out of the house and away from those feelings of homesickness.

6. Not wrong, just different

Every country does things in its own way and Spain is no exception. Even if you don’t agree with how a certain thing is done or find it impossible to adapt to, remember that it isn’t the wrong way: it’s a different way.

7. Make friends

Finding new friends is perhaps the biggest challenge of any move, even within your own country.

In Spain, there’s the added obstacle of the language barrier.

The onus is on you to get out there and make friends.

However, in Spain this isn’t too difficult because Spaniards are generally welcoming and friendly, particularly if they see you’re keen to learn their language and find out about their culture.

8. Keep in touch

Don’t cut yourself off from the life you had before you came to Spain.

Keep in regular touch with your friends and family in your home country.

Invite them over to stay and make the occasional visit yourself.

9. Home touches

If you find your homesickness in Spain has you craving a certain food from your home country, see if you can buy it locally.

Large hypermarkets in Spain stock a range of international food stuffs and in areas popular with expats, there are usually specialist stores where you can that brand of chocolate, ready-meal or crisps you’re hankering for.

If not, investigate online and get a home delivery!

10. Don’t burn your bridges

However certain you feel about your move to Spain, don’t burn your bridges in your home country until you’re 100 per cent sure that Spain is right for you.

Rent a Spanish property before you buy; keep up your business contacts in home country; and make sure your children continue to speak and read their native language. This means that if you find that your homesickness is here to stay, your return to your home country will be easier.