Loneliness when you're abroad

Do you often feel lonely when you're abroad?

I personaly suffered on week ends while I was in the UK. Even if I had several friends, I often missed my family and friends (from home). So I walked, visited museum, went to concerts, worked more... What about you?

What are you doing when you feel lonely?

I found in Switzerland, I was always busy and never had trouble meeting people.  I met a few people from Yahoo groups and then from there it just sky rocketed.

In Canada, I find it much harder.  I find too many people here are so flakey and always go back on their word for meeting up.  I'd rather have one reliable friend than many flakey ones.  I'm not sure if this is just a Vancouver issue but people certainly have a fear of commitment here.

I've always enjoyed going out and exploring on my own.  Now that I'm really into photography, I never run out of things to keep me busy.

I get lonely sure. But I do like my own company, and generally maintain a positive attitute. I will explore with my camera, and blog my travels. This gives it a purpose, and you forget about feeling lonely.

But saying that, I am off to Yahoo groups now to find some pals ;)

I hate to admit it, but it does get lonely at times.  I'm at an age where I don't suffer from the need to hang out with the crowd on Saturday night, but I've been here four years and have not made any real friends, and that does bother me at times.  Not enough to make me want to go back to the US, but enough to make me want to bug my friends to get over their irrational fear of flying and come over for a visit.

That's what places like this are for, isn't it? Or do virtual friends never really compensate for the lack of real ones?

Reading is good for me. You're never alone with a book.

One feels lonely in countries where people are not "friendly" by your standards. For example, people from Latin countries feel very lonely in privacy-minded Anglo Saxon countries where the norm is not to talk to people you don't know and where friendships take years to form.

In many countries if you are of undesirable color or nationality you will feel lonely becuase the locals will simply not like you. Example would be non-white foreigners in Japan. These are not liked and people just don't want to talk to them.

A Japanese would not feel lonley in a place like Cambodia since people will want to talk to him and make friends with him but not the other way around ( if a Cambodian went to Japan).

Anglos rarely feel lonely when they in Latin countries especially if they know the language. That is why you rarely see a complain from a Brit about being lonely in, say, Brazil.

If you are feeling lonely after you have learned the language of the country , I suggest either join some groups there or start contemplating moving to a better place where people are not that "cold".

I don't tend to feel that lonely here in Japan. I don't any friends of my own as such. I've just inheritated those of my wife (mostly female, and their husbands).

My friends are all UK based, so I just use the wonders of the internet to keep in touch with them, seeing them when I'm on trips to the UK.

Having said that, my wife doesn't have many real friends (From what I see, the Japanese don't... they tend to rely on family and a few close friends). She just got a fair few more after her time in the UK, with the other Japanese who were in the same situation as her. A lot of those friends are friends with me too, which is useful because they can all speak English to varying levels.

I was lucky because I shared a house with friends but I did still miss my English friends and family. I used to go back over to visit them quite a lot.

I used to get very lonely, but I was totally immersed in the new language I was desperately trying to learn, and trying to appreciate and understand the culture of my  husband. It was really hard because I felt VERY different (an Australian living in France), and I simply couldn't make any real French friends other than those of my husband.
Finally, I caved and made some "anglo" friends that I met online. A year and a half later, and I haven't looked back. The first three years of total immersion in French was the key to learning and understanding the language and culture, but making real friends with whom I had something in common changed my life and made me appreciate this experience one thousand-fold.

Living here in Russia can be lonely at times... however, when I was in Italy this summer that was truly my worst experience of loneliness.  It was weird that I really missed my life in Russia for that month that I was there.

I live in Italy and of course miss my UK home, but mixing with the locals at bars etc, local festivals, has introduced me to new friends and as such miss Uk less and less

We have lived in this house for almost 11 years and only know the names of three sets of neighbours.  People in our neighbourhood simply don't socialise with one another and, since I work from home, it can get pretty lonely at times.  My answer is Skype!!!

We're lucky that we live in University housing for married students where we are so all our neighbours are about the same age and at the same point in life; they all want friends. When we were in Seattle though it was a very different story. Probably the loneliest 9 months of my life.

I've been living in America for almost three years, with two and a half of that in a 40,000+ student college.  Loneliness is hard to find around a school this big, this place is really quite awesome.  However, I interned with a company out in Kansas for a month this summer, and that was just all kinds of wierd, I've never had so many nazi and hitler-youth jokes thrown at me within a month.  (I'm origninally from Germany, so I LOATHE these kinds of jokes, but tolerate them to an extent when I'm outside Germany).  The guys I worked with were the pencil pusher types who really didn't talk much, so it got a little lonely around there.  Was fortunate enough to discover a friend of mine from Germany had moved in a few hours drive away, so that visit was a nice pick-me-up. 

Why was Seattle so lonely?

Seattle was lonely because I don't have a drivers license and my husband was working full-time. We were saving up hard for coming here to school so we didn't get out much either.

Yeah, I had similar problems when I first came over and didn't have a car, I was used to the simply amazing public transportation system Germany had and, suddenly, I'm in a country that's utterly dependent on cars to get people around, so few busses or trains unless you're in a dense urban environment, and even then it's not always a great system.  So for a while I didn't do much unless new friends offered me rides.

I'm feeling seriously lonely now-a-days that I'm happily waiting for a truck to ram me! ugh! meanwhile I'm blogging, watching movies, reading novels hoping for things to change soon! :D

I found it difficult to me people when we work and live in the Greater London Area (I mean zone 3 to 6). We always have to travel to go from one place to another. It takes 1hours at least. So yes, I used to feel lonely especially during the evening in the weekday.

I really believe the best way to meet people is through your colleague. If you are lucky enough to have enough colleague to be friend with!

Apparently another really good is through children. Next time I move abroad, I'll wait to have some children!

I started to work in cafes in Australia when I arrived there and met most of my friends like that ...of course if you work in an office, it's not the same environment but still, I think  work is the best way to start fitting in

I'm usually a loner, I love being around people, but usually end up drained and tired after a while.

I'm a housewife, traveling with hubby and keep him sane during his often insane job.
Which leaves me with just enough energy to roam the places for pictures and be online and work on my ongoing projects.

Lonely? Sometimes.
Many people, especially Americans just don't get my sense of humour or my way of living / talking in general.
I'm open & straightforward. Most people can't take it.
So, I end up meeting them once, twice and then just stay away ;)
I'm weird :P

(Note: I just posted this to another thread, similar to this one)

This is something that Ive been struggling with lately, especially with the holidays coming up. This is my first time living abroad, and the longest Ive been away from home. Im very lucky in that I had friends living in Auckland when I got here, but there are many days when Im left at loose ends bc their lives are full with work and family (or they're just not in the mood to do things).

Im hoping that as time goes on I will meet more and more people and have the chance to get out and be more social.

My move to Angola is really bad timing, So having to spend the festive season alone is not easy. I would like to have traveled a bit but not knowing the language has left me handicapped. But having internet is a blessing and I am able to stay in touch with family and friends around the world.
Like you all.... Merry Christmas.

And a merry Christmas to you.
Being alone these days sucks, but having at least some sort of contact makes it easier.
Hope you have a decent time!}
Best wishes!

tambok wrote:

Anglos rarely feel lonely when they in Latin countries especially if they know the language. That is why you rarely see a complain from a Brit about being lonely in, say, Brazil.

That's just not true: every country has its gregarious cultures and also it's stuffy cultures.  I live in the sierra in Peru and it's pretty hard to make friends if you're not into the bricheros and the bar scene.

There's a whole 'you people all look the same' thing going on that inhibits friendships quite intensely.

sailyne wrote:

I found it difficult to me people when we work and live in the Greater London Area (I mean zone 3 to 6).

Apparently another really good is through children. Next time I move abroad, I'll wait to have some children!

If you're in those areas, my best tip, as an ex-Londoner, is to get a dog.  The dog walkers are a real tight community.  Good luck!

Lonely is a very big word. Also sometimes we feel lonely because we do not allow people to get close to us. We have to deal also with a different way to approach people in the country that we are living at the moment. In some countries, locals never go first to talk to the foreigner, in others the opposite. So I think that it depends in how much you want company, it is also a good way to get into the culture.

Only just arrived in Beijing so pretty lonely as I only know my work colleagues (and I am here to manage them). Currently trying to get my bearings of where I live, shops, restaurants etc. Spending some time in gym and swimming along with reading up on chinese culture but looking forward to having opportunity to meet other people in similar situation..

I feel also very lonely.. I'm a month and half in France, do not speak french yet. What's funny, i allready have a boyfriend here, and we are meeting sometimes with his friends.. but someway it stress me a lot, because they are just so diffrent from this what i know - my friends. We just don't fit together.. i think.. And this way i'm starting to think that maybe i'm weird..and blabla.. :)

It's incredible how all this depends on our state of mind. I came to live in Israel for a post-doctoral fellowship and my girlfriend came with me for a job in NGO... Rather fast she left her NGO for a research position in Amman. It is only 70 km away (with a hard border to cross) and we were able to see each other twice a month. The situation lasted several months and with the distance she met somebody else...  During all the time of our life across the border, I have never felt loneliness... I was occupied by a work which fascinated me and even if I had never a real affinity with the country, my life gone very well. My mind and my heart were with her and skype kept the link between us. Since the last 3 months, after we broke up, I am eaten away by the solitude, the deep reason of my expatriation was to live this experience with this girl and without her nothing has sense. I have already been alone in my life, and for a long time, but nothing comparable. This solitude is in fact more a sensation of lack, because even surrounded I can feel it.
I know that in my own country, with family and friends this stage could be easier...

Sly, I'm sorry to hear that.
Of course you have reasons to feel lonelier (or more lonely ?!) than before because you were building something with someone. With the idea of seeing each other every other week, it's always easier.
I myself am between sea (where I live) and mountains (where my boyfriend lives) and it gets hectic sometimes.

i think everybody will feel lone in his life, that is not a big matter when you just try to enjoy it. then after a short time, i am ok again.

This is directed to Tambok -  I think you are generalizing about the attitude of the Japanese.  I visited for 2 weeks in 2007 and as a black person I was stared at A LOT.  That is an understatement actually.

However, I never felt that it was because people didn't want me there.  Actually I found people wanted to speak to me and try their English out on me.  One older man in Kyoto stopped me and said we don't often get non-white visitors here but welcome and I hope you have fun.  I thought that was sooo sweet.

I think in a place like Japan there are hardly any non-white visitors or rarely seen that at first it might appear to come off as dislike because yes sometimes they will just look and not say anything.  Many times when I would reciprocate my gaze I was met with a smile.  I'm also not naive, I'm sure some people did dislike me but I never felt that my entire trip there.  My white male friend who I went to visit did experience what you said.  He lived in a small town in Northern Honshu and the people who were his friends in the town were social outcasts.  He told me of a time where someone crossed the other side of the street because he was coming.  However, after being there for some time (he lived and taught English for a year) people became more accepting.  Again I can only give my perspective on being black and in Japan.  I know you give examples of other ethnic groups and how it would be for them.

I loved my time in Japan and I would go there again in a heart beat!  Highly recommended trip.

I felt incredibly loney when I first arrived in the UK (Sept 08).  It is totally your state of mind.  Also like one poster said I was insulating myself from getting close to people.

I tend to be a very easy going person and can navigate myself in any social setting and feel comfortable, however, I missed my family and friends terribly and just wanted to leave and go home to see them.

That is behind me, it really just took some time to adjust and get my footing here.  I have friends, one really close one.  I explore the city a lot, I study because I have to being a law student.  I'm looking for a part time job so before I know it my time will be very occupied.  I'm enjoying whatever spare time I have now.

I am a 55 year old American Expat in the Philippines. At times I miss good friends to get together with for a day or evening out. There are 2 expat groups here that have meetings and some social events. I do not know if it the age, that most are men, or that I do not cheat on my wife, even though there is great oppertunity here with all the younger women, but at times I feel lonely not being invited out and living in a house with my wife and 3 nieces where the only time english is spoken is when they talk to me.

I always wish to learn how foreign visitors or foreign expatriates who have ever been in Lesotho feel about the reception here. I am part of the Nation so cannot easily explain how we welcome people here.

However I know for sure visitors are loved and cared for by a lot of people. Most of the Non-Sotho speakers would recieve recognition by the betterly educated peole and hence communication would be continuous depending on the basement of the link. Unfortunately if you are a foreigner and happen to say even a single word in English to any "under-educated" individual you may be tempted to conclude that you have met the most unfriendly nation.

So if you have also been around here and happened to encounter the most lonely days of your live; would you kindly share your experience with us on this forum.

Remember I am just interested, No strings attached

I feel lonely when I was in Sydney. Wherever you go, you miss your native place. That is true from my experience. Of course, you get good food such as Creamy Milk and yogurt and crunchy fries there, but you don't get your family and friends….Oops ….

I am feelıng lonely espcıally on week end just arrıved ın Istanbul never stayed alone wıthout famıly  Lookıng for a good frıend eıther Grıl or Boy  where we can seat and chat and learn somethıng from each other

If someone ınterested please feel free to call me or emaıl me on sbsharma_2000@yahoo.com or 90 5326704200

Jo Ann wrote:

Sly, I'm sorry to hear that.
Of course you have reasons to feel lonelier (or more lonely ?!) than before because you were building something with someone. With the idea of seeing each other every other week, it's always easier.
I myself am between sea (where I live) and mountains (where my boyfriend lives) and it gets hectic sometimes.

ın case ıf you are lookıng for a frıend ı can be I would be keen on learnıng turkısh and would teach good Englısh ın return ıf not.

Please feel free to contact me

when i get lonely on this lonely island i go to an internet cafe and chat till i drop. Lol.  it's a boring life... i feel so homesick.:(

never realised how many lonely people out there ,, however there are times when i feel blessed to live safely and enjoy the sun and snow  and just to have the experience of meeting  other people. although learning the language does help to intergrate etc...  sometimes i just feel the need to connect.

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