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Therapy Exchange is our new additional episode, where we invite our specialists to have an open conversation and share information about a common topic.

Join us in this heartfelt first episode of the ”Therapy Exchange”, where we invite our specialists to have an open conversation and share information about a common topic. 

For our first Therapy Exchange, the group looks into homesickness’s emotional complexities. Host Sally Seiriki, and the specialists Argentina Simões, Psychotherapist, and Emmanuella Maimo, Social Worker share their unique perspectives as mental health professionals and immigrants. Discover the psychological impact of homesickness, how it varies among individuals, and effective strategies for coping with the longing for home. Whether you’re an expat, a student abroad, or someone who frequently travels, this episode offers valuable insights and support. Tune in to understand the nuances of homesickness and how to find comfort in a new place.

Homesickness is a common yet deeply personal experience for many immigrants and newcomers. This emotional state, characterized by longing for familiar environments and connections, affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Understanding homesickness is crucial for providing the right support and fostering better integration into new communities.


Immigrants and newcomers often face homesickness as they adjust to new countries and cultures. According to a survey by the International Organization for Migration, over 70% of immigrants report feeling homesick within the first year of relocation. This feeling is exacerbated by the challenges of integrating into a new society, such as language barriers, cultural differences, and the absence of familiar support systems.


The person’s age plays a significant role in how individuals experience homesickness. Younger immigrants, particularly those in their teens and early twenties, are more susceptible to intense feelings of homesickness. This demographic is in a critical stage of developing their identities and often finds it challenging to navigate the complexities of a new culture while longing for the familiarity of home. Studies show that approximately 80% of young immigrants report moderate to severe homesickness during their first year abroad.


Conversely, older adults may experience homesickness differently. While they might have more life experience and resilience, they also face unique challenges such as leaving behind established careers, lifelong friendships, and a deep sense of belonging. For instance, retirees who move to a new country often struggle with homesickness due to the loss of their familiar social and cultural environment. About 60% of older immigrants report experiencing homesickness, although they may express it through feelings of nostalgia and longing rather than acute emotional distress.


The way individuals cope with homesickness varies widely. Younger immigrants often turn to social media and technology to stay connected with friends and family back home. Regular video calls, social networking, and online communities provide a sense of closeness and continuity. On the other hand, older immigrants may find comfort in forming new routines, engaging in community activities, and seeking out local cultural groups that remind them of home.


Psychological support is also crucial. Therapists specializing in intercultural psychology, such as those featured in the Therapy Exchange podcast, highlight the importance of acknowledging homesickness as a valid emotional response. Strategies such as mindfulness, cognitive-behavioural techniques, and building a strong local support network can help mitigate the effects of homesickness.


Tips to Overcome Homesickness


  • Stay Connected with Loved Ones
    • Use Technology: Video call, text, or email friends and family back home. Platforms like Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp make it easy to stay in touch.
    • Share your experiences and stay updated on the lives of your loved ones through social media platforms.


  • Create a Routine
    • Daily Schedule: Establish a routine to bring structure to your day. This can include work, exercise, hobbies, and social activities.
    • Healthy Habits: Incorporate healthy habits like regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep to boost your overall well-being.


  • Explore Your New Environment
    • Local Attractions: Visit local landmarks, parks, and cultural sites to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings. Try a bus or walking tour to get a local perspective and tips from the tour guide.
    • Community Events: Participate in community events, festivals, and gatherings to meet new people and learn about local culture.


  • Build a Support Network
    • Join Clubs or Groups: Look for clubs, sports teams, or interest groups that match your hobbies. This is a great way to meet new people and build connections.
    • Volunteer: Volunteering can help you feel more integrated into your community and provide a sense of purpose.


  • Stay Busy and Productive
    • Set Goals: Focus on personal or professional goals to keep yourself motivated and engaged.
    • Learn Something New: Take up a new hobby, learn a new language, or enroll in a course to keep your mind active and distracted from homesickness.


  • Bring Comforts of Home
    • Personal Items:  Decorate your space with items from home, such as photos, favourite books, or familiar scents.
    • Cook Familiar Foods: Prepare dishes that remind you of home to create a sense of familiarity and comfort.


  • Practice Self-Care
    • Mindfulness and Relaxation: Practice mindfulness, meditation, or yoga to reduce stress and stay grounded.
    • Seek Professional Help: If homesickness becomes overwhelming, consider speaking with a therapist or counsellor, especially one who understands intercultural issues.


  • Focus on the Positive
    • Gratitude Journal: Keep a journal to write down things you are grateful for and positive experiences in your new environment.
    • Stay Optimistic: Remind yourself of the reasons you moved and the opportunities that come with your new location.


  • Connect with Fellow Expats
    • Expat Communities: Join local expat groups or online forums where you can share experiences and advice with others in similar situations.
    • Cultural Organizations: Participate in activities organized by cultural or national organizations from your home country.


Let me introduce you to our guest!

Bio: Argentina Simões, Psychotherapist

Hello, I am a Psychotherapist and I provide online sessions in Portuguese and English. Most of my practice is focused on Brazilians living abroad and foreigners, thus working in intercultural relationships, both in the personal and interpersonal spheres. I have an integrative approach, I am a specialist in Cognitive Behavioral Therapies and a Psychologist in Brazil.

Bio: Emmanuella Maimo, Social Worker

Emmanuella Nsaise Maimo is a dedicated nurse and social worker with a passion for helping diverse clients with complex medical and mental health issues. Having worked as a nurse for 4 years, and recently completed her bachelor’s degree in social work from The University of Calgary, Emmanuella is well-equipped to provide exceptional care to her clients. Originally from Cameroon, and currently residing in Calgary with her husband and four kids, Emmanuella enjoys sports, hiking in the mountains, and looking forward to more travelling and camping.

As a nurse at Agecare, Emmanuella wears many hats in caring for her clients. She ensures that every client receives appropriate and direct care that is tailored to their specific treatment plan, encompassing multiple aspects of the client’s medical needs and holistic well-being. Constantly assessing and reassessing, monitoring and evaluating clients, and coordinating with a whole variety of multidimensional specialists, Emmanuella prioritizes a client-centred care perspective. She educates clients and their families on treatment interventions and prevention strategies, ensuring they have access to the resources they need to maintain their health.

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