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| By Amy O’Riordan

Moving away from family and friends can be tough, especially when homesickness kicks in...

If you have made the loooong journey from the U.K or Ireland to work as a nurse in Australia, chances are it’s mostly an exciting adventure – but you could also have to deal with homesickness.

Registered nurse Amy O’Riordan, who hails from sunny Ireland, came to Sydney in February 2018, and missed the connection to family, friends and everything happening there.

Here she shares her experience with tips on what helped her get settled and deal with being homesick.

Stay away from your phone and live in the moment

When I first got to Australia, I wanted to FaceTime home all the time to catch up on the latest goings-on and make sure nothing had changed overnight. But I actually felt I missed home more after I hung up the phone. A part of me felt I was missing out and I really wanted to keep that connection to home.

After about 3 weeks I decided to stop FaceTiming for a little while and just catch up with the fam through texts and the odd phone call. I did this for about a month and it actually was one of the best things I ever did.

My mom always says, ‘live in the now’ and it is so true! I needed my mind to be present in Australia while I settled in and not be constantly thinking about home. Taking a break from FaceTime really helped me settle in and ‘live in the moment’. After that, the phone calls to home got a lot easier and my heart wasn’t aching every time I hung up. So, if you find yourself in the same situation, try taking a little break or else just cut down how often you call home.

Another helpful tip is to stop checking every Snapchat or Instagram story your pals from home are putting up when they’re all together or going on a night out. The fear of missing out can be so real and will only contribute to your feelings of homesickness. I’m not saying ignore your loved ones at home, dying to know how you are getting on, but try to embrace this exciting opportunity and focus on new experiences, not what you could be missing at home.

Explore your new surroundings

A great way to settle into a new area is to explore your new surroundings. Take a few days to stroll around the streets of your new city, visit some local cafes and see some of the popular sights. This will give you a feel for the atmosphere and pace of the city. This is more important than you think, I know when I moved to Sydney, I loved the people I met and working, but there was something for me that was missing, and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

It wasn’t until I moved to Melbourne, that has a bit of a more relaxed atmosphere, that I really felt at home and more comfortable. So, familiarising yourself with what is around you and getting used to the pace of daily life helps everything not to feel so alien. This is essential for overcoming homesickness and is what can make a place a home-away-from-home.

Set goals

One of the most important things in overcoming homesickness is remembering why you moved away in the first place. When you have been living away from home for a little while it’s easy to fall into the monotony of everyday life. Try to remind yourself of the initial excitement