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Expat Mental Health: Dealing with Homesickness and Culture Shock as a Gambian Expatriate

17 Jan 2024


Did you know that the burden of working in a new environment, with additional pressure to make money transfers to the Gambia for your family, can put you in a severe mental health crisis?

It is typical for a Gambian expatriate living abroad to experience homesickness and cultural shock. Being away from home and adjusting to a new culture can hurt one's mental health, which is why it's crucial to talk about how to deal with these issues.
 

Understanding Cultural Shock and Homesickness

Expats can be affected by both homesickness and cultural shock, and Gambian expats are no different.

Homesickness is the desire to return to one's home nation, family, and friends, whereas culture shock is the feeling of bewilderment and discomfort experienced when transitioning to a new culture. It's not uncommon for these two sensations to occur at the same time. Almost 85% of international students and expats experience culture shock. Among the symptoms of homesickness and culture shock are:

  • Sadness, loneliness, and isolation are all common emotions.
  • Sleeping difficulties or changes in appetite
  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Inactivity due to a lack of motivation or interest

Coping Strategies to Deal with Culture Shock and Homesickness

Here are some tips and tricks to help you through those gloomy days of expat life when you miss home and family. 

Maintain contact with family and friends

Feeling homesick can be exhausting, but staying in touch with loved ones can bring comfort and support. Staying in touch with family and friends back home is now easier than ever, thanks to advances in technology. Consider using video call apps like Skype or Zoom to communicate with loved ones in person. You can also use messaging apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger regularly to stay in touch with family and friends. Uploading images and videos might also help you keep connected with your loved ones back home.

You can also deepen the connection by making online money transfers to Gambia for your family as a sign of gratitude for their love.
 

Look for Familiar Meals

Food is an important aspect of culture; eating familiar dishes can bring comfort and a sense of belonging. If you miss home, look for stores or restaurants that sell Gambian food or components.

 You can also learn to cook Gambian meals by following online instructions or asking family members for their recipes. You can also bring spices or other things from Gambia to use in your cuisine while overseas.
 

Take Solace in Familiar Activities

Participating in things that you enjoyed back home can make you feel more connected to your roots and bring comfort. Consider listening to Gambian music, reading Gambian authors' books, or watching Gambian movies or television shows. You can also participate in physical activities that you enjoyed back home, such as running, swimming, or sports.
 

Engage in the Foreign Culture

Immersion in the local culture is one of the best methods to overcome culture shock. Learn the local language or brush up on your language abilities by enrolling in language programs.

To learn more about the new culture, try different foods and visit the local community. Participate in local festivals or events to learn about the culture and traditions. Accept differences and remain open to new experiences. You could be astonished to discover how much you appreciate the new culture.
 

Discover New Hobbies

Finding new interests or hobbies that are unique to your new country might be a terrific approach to avoid homesickness or culture shock. Consider learning a new skill, such as painting, pottery, or photography.

Learn new talents and meet new people by enrolling in a local music or dancing class. You can also participate in outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and skiing. Discovering new interests and activities might help you in finding happiness and enthusiasm in your new surroundings.

While you get busy in the new routine with new hobbies, don’t forget to send money to Gambia to show you have not forgotten your loved ones.
 

Look for Expat Support Organisations

Interacting with other expatriates who understand the difficulties of transitioning to a new culture can be an excellent way to find support and new friends. Look for local expat groups or online forums where you can interact with others going through similar circumstances.

Meet new people and create connections by attending local events or meetings hosted by expat groups. While dealing with homesickness and culture shock, having a support network can make a huge difference.
 

The Value of Self-Care

Handling homesickness and culture shock can be mentally and emotionally demanding, so self-care is essential. Always prioritize self-love and care by following these tips.

 

  • Having a nutritious diet
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Regular exercise to reduce stress
  • Mindfulness or meditation practice
  • Taking necessary breaks

Seeking Professional Help

If homesickness or culture shock becomes unbearable or begins to interfere with your everyday life, it is critical to seek expert assistance. Search for a mental health professional in your country, and don't be afraid to ask for assistance. If you have financial issues or inquiries, ACE Money Transfer's customer service representatives can offer advice and, if necessary, connect you to local resources.
 

ACE Money Transfer: Assisting Gambian Expats with Financial Management

Financial hardship can exacerbate the difficulties of transitioning to life as an expat. ACE Money Transfer offers financial services to help relieve some of that tension. It offers affordable money transfers online to Gambia with ease and convenience.

Here are some ways Gambian expats can benefit from the services of ACE Money Transfer.
 

Simple and Inexpensive Money Transfers

Transfer money to loved ones in Gambia with ease and at an unbelievable cost. Regular wire transfers can rob you when it comes to sending remittances. Save yourself some slack and switch to digital firms.
 

Market-Competitive Currency Exchange

In currency exchange, most expats lose a ton of their money when sending money home. ACE Money Transfer does not aim to profit from currency exchange and offers the most competitive exchange rates in the industry.
 

Safe, Secure, and Fast

Rest assured that your funds will reach your loved ones safely within a day. ACE follows strict security protocols that keep your money safe.
 

Bottom Line

While dealing with homesickness and culture shock is a complete challenge, do not overburden yourself by relying on undependable remittance transfer agents. Stick to ACE Money Transfer to benefit from wonderful features along with an affordable transfer fee. Sign up today for free to make unlimited money transfers to Gambia with utmost convenience.
 

FAQs

What is homesickness, and how can I deal with it as a Gambian expatriate?

Homesickness is a natural feeling of longing for your home country, family, and familiar surroundings. To cope with it, stay connected with loved ones through calls or video chats, explore Gambian cultural events in your new location, and create a comfortable living space that reminds you of your home.

What is culture shock, and how can I manage it as an expatriate in a foreign country?

Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation when adjusting to a new culture. To manage it, take time to learn about your host country's customs, engage with locals to understand their perspectives, and maintain an open mind while embracing the differences as opportunities for personal growth.

How can I maintain my mental health while living abroad as a Gambian expatriate?

To maintain your mental health, establish a routine that includes exercise, healthy eating, and relaxation. Seek out support groups or mental health professionals if needed, and don't hesitate to lean on fellow Gambian expats or new friends for emotional support.

What are some strategies to combat loneliness as a Gambian expatriate experiencing homesickness?

Combat loneliness by joining local clubs or organizations, participating in community events, and making new friends in your host country. Staying socially active and finding common interests can help alleviate feelings of isolation.

Is it normal to experience a mix of emotions while adjusting to life abroad, including highs and lows?

Yes, it's entirely normal to experience a range of emotions as an expatriate. The adjustment process often involves both highs and lows. Remember that it's part of the journey, and with time, you'll find a balance and adapt to your new life while cherishing the unique experiences it offers.


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