How to Cope When Returning Home After Living Abroad

When people move abroad to live or work they often expect the move itself to be the biggest challenge. However, anyone who has lived abroad for a long period of time and then returned home will tell you that the return can often be the hardest part of all.

See you in four years © by monkeywing

After all, after months or even years of living abroad you may have become accustomed to living a very different lifestyle. When you move back home you may have to give up the weather, your way of life, your new friends and more besides. Sometimes it can even seem like a big step backwards compared to when you moved abroad in the first place.

Here are some ways to cope better when you move back home again to prevent the end of your journey being too traumatic.

Plan Your Return as Early As Possible

This is not always easy to do because you may have to move back in a hurry. However, if you are able to do so then preparing for your move back home early on can really help you to adjust.

In the same way that you wouldn’t just leave for a new country without making some preparations first, do the same when you head back home.

People often think that they will not have to plan a return home because they know exactly what to expect. But your home country may have changed so much that you end up feeling like a stranger.

Your friends may have moved on, the job market may be very different, the economy may have changed and you may have missed out on important events.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming you know what to expect, and the more prepared you are, the better.

Arrange Your Employment

Getting back home can be tough enough, but if you find yourself unemployed then this can be even harder.

If you are giving up a job to return home then try to plan a new job as early as possible so that you don’t end up unemployed for too long because this can make your return more of a struggle.

Plan Your Next Trip

If you are dreading returning home then you can always start planning your next destination. Even if you know that this won’t be for a number of years, think about all the other places you would like to go and start to make a few plans.

The thought that you are able to go away again might make it easier to settle back in your home country, and even if you don’t end up going away again it can take the edge off your return knowing that this is not necessarily the end of the road.

Try to Adapt to the Change

You will have changed in many ways by the time you return home from living and working abroad, even if you do not realise it. Don’t assume that it will be easy, but instead prepare yourself for a real challenge upon your return, because the more you prepare for this, the easier it will be when you finally arrive back on home soil.


  1. Andrew
    May 30, 2012

    I just wanted to say thanks again for submitting this to the BT Blog Carnival. This article has been included in the 12th BT Blog Carnival which was published today. I completely agree that its best to plan for the return ahead of time. :)

    If you could retweet, stumble, or “Like” the blog carnival, I would really appreciate it. :) It would also help people discover your article, too!

    Thanks again :)

    • Phil Byrne
      Phil Byrne
      May 31, 2012

      Hi Andrew

      Thanks for including us and yes, we shall indeed send your wonderful blog carnival through all of our social networks.


  2. Ana
    October 4, 2012

    I especially liked this piece because few expat writers really delve into this subject as much as it’s called for. I have seen many expats who’ve moved back home in a hurry, and 2 years ago I had to do it myself. My return was an unmitigated mini-disaster and the uphill challenges of unemployment and having no real home continue. But I tell myself, I am going out again. It’s the only thing that keeps me going.

    • Phil Byrne
      Phil Byrne
      October 4, 2012

      Hi Ana
      Many thanks for your comments, Life always brings change and sometimes those changes are challenging. I’m sure things will settle and you will soon be living the life you want.


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