Dealing with homesickness in Spain

Hello everyone,

Being an expat in Spain 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 Spain? Or maybe venues with music and ambiance from your homeland?

Thanks for sharing your experience,


I've never felt a moment of homesickness. I can talk to people by phone, I can even see them if I want to with Skype and I know all the little comings and goings with Facebook.

I do, occasionally, lust for a pork pie or stilton but I live in Alicante province so they are not difficult to find.

And, sometimes, the isolation of the language causes me grief but there seems to be no link with being away from the UK.

I found the times I became homesick, which for me was missing my kids, was usually after spending the day cooped up working on the computer. Not wanting to spend another minute on the MacBook, all I usually had to do was to get outside and walk. Enjoying the city almost always made things better, and when it didn't, as Culebronchris said, Skype would help me reconnect. Sometimes missing American baseball or football bothered me, but with the time difference little is to be done. Although I was able to watch the Super Bowl, even though the bar that advertised the game closed with a full house at half time and the entire bar trooped to another to watch the second half. You can sometimes watch an early NFL game but not if there is a soccer game on at the same time.

As previous ex-pats have commented,there are fewer reasons to be homesick these days with Facebook and Skype to keep us in touch with friends and family who live elsewhere.  If you want to watch UK TV that is available in various ways and downloaded podcasts keep me in touch with favourite BBC programs.

However, I do miss physical contact with my grandsons (I don't have any granddaughters yet).  Some of them are able to come out during the summer holidays but others have such busy lives that they can't be away from home for long.

As for favourite foods, we have a small shop nearby that stock most iconic UK foodstuffs and will order anything you particularly lust after.  Eating out is frequently a problem as I have been vegetarian for 30 years so I get homesick for good vegetarian food, but the aforementioned shop will ship in Quorn and soya products for me.

However, I am an ordained member of a Buddhist Order and although there are a couple of Buddhist groups here, they are both Tibetan traditions which I don't find appealing - not being a Tibetan - consequently I feel a little isolated and worry that my practice will dwindle away.  To keep in touch I run a little meditation group once a week and have a small number of followers but my grasp of the language is insufficient to discuss Buddhism in any depth.

Now we have been here for 2 1/2 years I feel no inclination to visit the UK except for major family celebrations and when I do, I can't wait to leave and come back home to Menorca.

That’s my summary, a general way to understand and overcome Homesickness. I am now living in Seville since 3 weeks and I was living in Riga the past 6 months so I begin to understand quite well the subject and also because of some courses that I followed during my year of study in France!
Where homesickness does comes from?
Connection, love, and security are Human needs even if some people will pretend that it doesn’t matter for them. So first thing to understand It’s not your actual home which cause this feeling of homesickness but the fact to be a long way from home which is familiar, stable, comfortable, and positive. To recreate an environment you can put the following things in practice:
-    Discover local food
-    Invite some friend to visit you
-    Keep up your habits
-    Exercise regularly. Force yourself to go outside
-    Get "Adopted" by meeting people
-    Talk to Others About How You're Feeling
Of course there is a lot more, it’s just some example to help you, think about it!
Recognize homesickness symptoms.
Of course Homesickness isn’t just missing “home”. Your daily functioning can be impact by the variety of your feelings and all the side-effects which can appear. By recognizing these symptoms you can figure out why you’re thinking and feeling the way you are and take action to help.
-    Abnormal behaviours
-    Anxiety
-    Depression
-    Nostalgia


If you’re anticipating separation, pre-emptive homesickness could appear, when you develop such feelings as anxiety, loss, or obsession about home before. That’s why it’s important to prepare its departure:
-    Check what seems to be in your center of interest in your new place. (Hobby, activity etc..)
-    Learn about historical facts and places. (tourism office, museum)
-    Join some expat group to see review and be aware about this fact of homesickness!
-    Look for some accommodation.
To go further with the accommodation and to conclude with, one easy thing to find the kind of feelings which are needed for wellbeing and to adapt more easily to a new place can be directly link to the accommodation for example share a flat with some roommates. That should help you to socialize yourself and always have some company. That’s one of my personal tip, and for that I use a website which purpose a wide range of offer all over Europe and which is named, I recommend them because they follow you and you can directly speak with somebody who will be able to answer all your need, so it makes the things easy!

The best way to cope is to remember the reasons you moved in the first place and look for ways to expose and embrace them. If that fails, go to the market and remember how much you were paying for a good bottle of tinto at home!
Enjoy the journey

Fantastic well written article. I am homesick. I plan to return to the uk after 8 years in spain and having learnt the language intergrated the best I can I realise I miss my friends and people I can relate to. Here I fall between two stools having retired early most of the expat's are either substantially older than I or younger busy and working.
I miss access to my own culture and friendship group who share similar ideals values as and whom frankly
I find I have more in common with. So once I sell Iam going home

This is a really good question and I found it very interesting reading other people's responses.

I find that homesickness tends to set because
a) Something isn't going so well for you in that moment
b) You are not keeping yourself busy and boredom sets in
c) Your language skills are causing frustration
d) Cultural differences cause frustration or upset

For me I rarely experience homesickness. I've only experienced it when I've become bored or frustrated with some social situations and even bureaucracy and red tape - basically the inefficiency of government things.

The ways I combat homesickness is
1) Keep busy
2) Accept the way Spain is and it's dysfunctions. Remind yourself why you are there and list the   
pros of being in Spain compared to your home country
3) When I miss certain foods, I made them at home and I invite Spanish friends to share them at a dinner party
4) Try to make meaningful connections with people. If you don't have family in Spain, make an urban family.
5) Call home with Skype or facebook
6) If language is causing you grief, be kind to yourself and remind yourself that you are doing your best and it WILL improve. Then schedule time to work on your Spanish.

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