Living life as an expat can be difficult for some, but not all. People experience homesickness to a varying degree depending on what and who they have back home, and who or what they have in their new home. Typically speaking, the longer we live away from home, the more likely we are to get adjusted to life outside of it, and therefore no longer really feel the want or need to visit our home country.
Living abroad can sometimes make you feel like an alien. When I said alien, you probably thought of extraterrestrial beings like E.T., which was indeed what I meant. However, we are actually aliens of the country when we’re expats. Case in point, foreigners who worked or lived in Japan were registered under a system called “alien registration” until July 9th, 2012. By definition, alien refers to “a foreigner, especially one who is not a naturalized citizen of the country where he or she is living.” Therefore, it makes sense that we sometimes feel alien in a country because of the cultural gap, language gap, and just the fact that we’re visibly different from the locals.
For people who are more susceptible to homesickness, many people may believe it’s better to visit home as often as possible. Personally, I think that’s counterproductive. I think the more attached you are to the people and life back home, the more likely you are to suffer from homesickness. This is because you’ll constantly miss what you don’t have where you currently reside. In turn, this becomes a vicious cycle where you’ll become more homesick, so you go home more, and then you’ll miss it more, and you’re more than likely to find it very difficult to adjust to life abroad.
Now at the other end of the spectrum, some people may never feel the need or desire to go back to their home country for many reasons. This could be due to not having a “home” to return to. This could be physical, but usually it’s that family and or friends no longer reside in your home country. What they have, or don’t have, at home, could also be the reason they left in the first place. Therefore, these people have absolutely no reason to “go home” when their home country didn’t feel like home in the first place. Just because it’s your “home country” doesn’t mean you have to go if there isn’t enough reason to do so.
From personal experience, there is a certain point when one starts saying to “go” to their home country instead of saying to “go back”. If you have a lot of loved ones back home, or elderly or sick family, maybe it’s a good idea to go home as often as you can financially. If your home country is right across a border that’s a few hours drive, why not drop by every month or two if you’ve got time to spare? If your home country is far away and it’d take a long time or a lot of money to go back, maybe go during the off-season once every several years. If you hate everyone and everything back home, don’t go back. I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all answer to how often anyone should go back to their home country. Do what feels right for you, and what’s important to you.
expat (noun) – short for expatriate: someone who doesn’t live in their own country
extraterrestrial (adjective) – in or coming from a place outside the planet Earth
susceptible (adjective) – easily influenced or harmed by something
counterproductive (adjective) – having an effect that is opposite to the one intended or wanted
at the other end of the spectrum (idiom) – the extreme opposite of what was earlier stated
one-size-fits-all (idiom) – suitable for everyone or every purpose