Dealing with homesickness in Hungary

Hello everyone,

Being an expat in Hungary can turn out to be a wonderful human, social or professional adventure... with potential moments of nostalgia and homesickness along the way.

What are your personal tips to prevent homesickness?

How do you deal with such feelings?

Are there shops or stores offering products from your home country in Hungary? Or maybe venues with music and ambiance from your homeland?

Thanks for sharing your experience,


For me, no home sickness, since home is where the heart is. And my heart is in Hungary. Her name is Barbara.  :heart:

I feel at home here but more at home in a more English speaking area than just Hungarian but that will change with time. So being on the internet, being sociable and making friends, joining some groups to do sociable things and learning more of the language stops me from feeling too homesick.

All I can say is we live in fantastic times when we have skype and the internet.
My first time in HU in 1978 was a bit hard on me, homesick and I was only in HU for 6 weeks.
No phone service outside of HU, only one or two homes per block even had a phone in their flats let alone be allowed to call the west.
I made one phone call home to my mom, was a big deal. Had to go into the main post office and register myself and wait a day or two for the ok to call outside of HU.
Cost a ton too.
I do tend to still get homesick only because my family lives so far away and it is a long pricey tiring trip to visit them.
The holidays are the hardest for most people.
Not sure why suppose seeing everyone else with family makes one feel homesick.
The thing is last Xmas time we were with family in the US and it was no big deal.
Most of it is all in ones head, have to find things to keep yourself busy.
When my husband and our HU friends in the US left Hungary in the early 1970's they never thought they would even be allowed to enter HU again let alone see their family.
My German friend in the US had family in east Germany, at least they could meet up once a year at lake Balaton, outside of Germany they could see each other as long as her eastern relations stayed in the east.
My husband didn't get to see his family for over 7 years. In 1978 the HU gov. gave amnesty to HU , allowed them to visit family in HU without repercussions.
As soon as we heard the news he could visit we bought tickets to HU. just dropped everything and went.
It was interesting to witness him with his mom after 7 years time. Bittersweet actually.
Honestly the only person I really get homesick to see is my son in the US, usually after 5 mins with him I am ready to return to HU.

Home tends to be where you family is.  And they  are here. 

It's also easy to travel now, with the cheap airlines servicing Budapest - just a couple of hours and back in the UK.

Again, you UK people are so lucky, cheap short flights and all.
Flying to Vegas from Budapest is an ordeal, over 30 some hours no matter what route you take, 2 or 3 security lines at the airports if your lucky and they don't add more screenings.
We got stuck in Germany for 3 days on a simple flight to Vegas, took over 80 some hours to get there!!!
My bags were lost for another 5 days! Or as the airlines love to tell you, Misplaced.
Just too stressful and pricey for a quick jump over, I dislike air travel as it is.
To spend so much on a ticket and all the hassles, we usually go for long periods of time and that in itself is a hassle.
Maybe someday my son will move to HU and join us.

Having the Internet,  Skype,  viber or messenger means I can be in touch with friends and family daily.

I do miss living by a beautiful beach in the uk though but I am able to visit twice a year.
As a retired person I could not afford to continue to live there full time and the accommodation I have in hungary is far superior for one third of the cost.

anns :

Having the Internet,  Skype,  viber or messenger means I can be in touch with friends and family daily.

I do miss living by a beautiful beach in the uk though but I am able to visit twice a year.
As a retired person I could not afford to continue to live there full time and the accommodation I have in hungary is far superior for one third of the cost.

I know the feeling.  House prices in the UK are at loopy levels.  I think my HU house if in the UK would be worth about 10 x what its worth here.   That's utterly unreasonable.   

All the latest gadgets allow one to have a home country bubble - UK phone number, UK TV etc - if one wants such a thing.

I remember when I lived in Canada, Toronto for over 5 years I was homesick so many times, so I really know what it means.

My husband was so homesick when he came to America from Hungary illegally in 1971.
No matter how homesick he was he knew he could never go home again.
That must of been very hard for a young man alone in the world.
When my husband met me, my family became his family in the US after a bit of them getting to know him.
I do not think if my mother was alive I could of ever left my country of birth knowing i could never go home again without facing serious jail time etc.
Even these days, if my mother was still living i would never in my life leave Cal.  If I couldn't see my mom within a hours drive it just wouldn't work for me, a real mama's girl.

Seriously? Would I be a believer, I would praise God every day for letting me get out of Russia. Homesickness? What homesickness?

Once in awhile I will buy a jar of peanut butter and make foods that are considered American but i always add a bit of a HU touch to most every meal.
Can not longer make turkey burgers without putting some paprika in the mix or eating them with a side vegetable made the HU way in a sauce.
The only time I get really homesick is when someone is having a get together in the US and I can't be there or if my son in the states calls like he did this past weekend with minor problems that I know we could fix easily if we lived closer to him.

The first time that I stayed in Hungary for a year, I was miserably homesick.  However, it was certainly partly due to my lack of language, the fact that at the time, Hungarians were out from under Soviet domination but their neighbor to the east might still change their mind and come back (so some feared) and so people were very cautious.  I also made the big mistake of only hanging out with English speakers and being "dependent on Budapest".  Sometimes people just stick to their language enclaves and don't reach out.  It's OK when really homesick, but try to reach into Hungary itself. 

The second time, I had periods of homesickness, but it wasn't overwhelming.  Certainly a lot in Hungary had become easier (shopping, etc). There are British stores (at least one in BP and my favorite in Gyo"r) if I needed anything.  Sometimes they had products popular in the USA.  Skype made communication back home easier, but what really helped was that I tried to live more like a Hungarian - fewer trips to Budapest, making friends with local shop and cafe owners, a few of whom became my real window into Hungary.   I also got involved with some groups that play board games (sometimes we played in English other times I needed translations - but often I knew the games) and a yoga class (everything in Hungarian, but the words for the poses quite recognizable and ladies all my age - which is no longer young :).   

Exploring your neighborhood and finding places where you can socialize, however you struggle, is very important.   It was so nice when I began to feel Hungary is my second home.  And in many ways, it feels like my first home, because the sometimes dark pessimism of Hungarians mirrors my own, yet we all laugh together. 

Good luck!

Hi everyone

How are you doing

The first month was the hardest for me lol i even wanted to move back home but i am happy i didnt but after that it got a lot easier plus in my 2 years stay in Hungary i traveled a lot so didnt feel the home sickness anymore.
Other things that made things easier i met a Hungarian friend and we lived together for sometime  then more friends and people & of course traveling in and out HU.

Yes getting a hobby with Hungarians is a good idea.
I used to go to many different gyms in Erd and in Budapest, was even offered a job teaching in one of the clubs.
Everyone thought I understood HUngarian until the class was over and someone tried to talk with me, then it got uncomfortable sometimes.
Due to knee surgery I now do my own thing at home, more PT then jumping about, knees shot and lucky to be able to walk cane free in flat shoes these days.
Not fun to age although I have been to gyms that have women in their 80's working out with younger women.
I always went to Ladies only clubs in Hungary.
Took a yoga class once in Erd, all in HU, it was in a slow style that was not what I was used to, was ok but not as relaxing as I like because I had to watch more then listen.
My husband who is Hungarian even tried hang gliding here in HU.
All good and fun until the instructor had him ready to go and the wind picked him up and dumped him into a rose bush.

You are right to some extent that language is the key.  I felt more isolated my first two years.  Partly because of the language barrier but mostly because my holiday home is very rural.  Although there is a village the centre of the village is three kilometres  away.  So not worth the walk.  The few neighbours near me are very chatty and friendly but all of us are very busy doing  our own gardens.
Since retiring I decided to make Budapest my proper home because I have so many interests and it is really all very close to me in district 9.
Of course  there is a pool,  language and art classes in the town nearest to me when I am in the countryside but again too far away from the tanya and I don't like traveling on my own in the evenings in an isolated place.
So for me luckily I have the best of both worlds and enjoy the solitude when I am in the green and the bustle of the city.

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