Before you leave, take the time to visit each of your friends, have lunch or do something you don’t often have time for. This extra time is invaluable and you will be glad you made room in your schedule for it. Your friends will be flattered that you made time for them in the busy run up to your departure.
Make sure you save some time for your family as well. In all the excitement to get everything together, it easy to forget the people who are closest. If at all possible, get together for dinner before you leave.
Even though you feel like your brother’s girlfriend is the most annoying person on the planet, you will be glad you had the time together. In four months time, when you desperately feel like you want to go home, you can remind yourself that by staying, you maintain a 3000 mile buffer between the two of you.
When packing, be sure to save room for mementos from home. It may be tempting to leave photos or favourite foods in Canada to save space but in the inevitable moments of homesickness that will come, pictures of your friends and family, your Canadiens jersey and your Sam Roberts CD can go a long way towards making things bearable.
Once you arrive in your new country and settle in a little bit, the initial overwhelming feeling often gives way to a wistfulness for your comfortable life back home. Little things, like having to get the bus for groceries instead of driving like you would at home, become annoying and you wonder why you decided to move there in the first place.
Having a good attitude will really help you get through the tough spots. Instead of constantly comparing the new country to Canada, try to appreciate it as an entity unto its own. After all, it is quite likely that people have been living how you are far longer than Canada has been around for, so it can’t be all bad!
Taking the initiative is an excellent way to battle homesickness. Instead of moping around, feeling sorry for yourself, do something to actively combat the sad feelings. Look through some old pictures, listen to a CBC radio web cast, have friends over for pancakes and maple syrup or, if you don’t speak the language well, seek out some ex-pats for a nice chat.
More About Saying goodbye
Remember, your friends are as glad to hear from you as you are from them so if it has been a while since you’ve last spoken, send them an interesting postcard or some pictures and a letter. That way, they’ll have something cool to post on their fridge and will be reminded of you every time they open the door.