10 Things to Remember when Visiting your Home Country

17 March, 2015 0 comment

I came to Canada four and a half years ago to study, a few months after my eighteenth birthday. It’s an age where my views of the world and my surroundings have yet to develop like it would in university. You could say that I was, well, innocent. I was leaving the place where I grew up, so naturally I was going to miss it soon and often.

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I visited my home country many times after coming to Canada. Returning home became a vacation, and no matter how costly, it’s one of the best vacations one can take and let me tell you — it’s worth it. Nevertheless, venturing back to a place that is completely different to where you are currently living, even if it was the place where you spent your childhood, can be overwhelming. Here are the things to do and remember when visiting your home country:

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  1. Plan ahead. Book your tickets at least two months before your departure date. Buses, trains, and airplanes are usually very busy during the holiday season, and you don’t want to miss out on tickets. If you’re traveling by air, I heard that the cheapest time to buy a plane ticket is 54 days before the flight.

  2. Keep in touch with news and trends at home. Living in another country doesn’t mean that you can be out of touch with what’s going on where your family and friends reside. I always found it beneficial to keep in touch with what’s new at home; somehow, it makes me feel more connected with my country, friends, and family. It’s also a way to let them know that you still care about where you come from.

  3. Ask your friends and family if they need anything from you abroad, and bring gifts. They don’t have to be anything big or expensive, but tokens of appreciations let your friends and family know that, despite the distance, they are still close to your heart.

  4. Spend at least three weeks at home. Give yourself a few days to rest at home after arriving, especially if it’s a long flight. Get use to the new timezone (if that’s an issue) so you could spend as much quality time as possible with your friends and family.note book with inspiration

  5. Make plans to meet with friends and family. After moving to Canada, I realized how much an effort relationships were; not just with your significant other, but with your friends and family as well. Make sure to plan your schedule so you could see everyone you want to meet in the short time that you’re home, but don’t forget to also prioritize and spend time with those who matter most.

  6. Brace yourself for hurtful or inappropriate comments from relatives. In Indonesia, it’s normal to comment on someone’s physical appearance after not seeing each other for a while. I had to hear a lot of “wow, you’re fat now” or “you became bloated somehow!” which was not easy anymore to hear; I became used to Canadian social norms and have forgotten mine. If this happens to you, take a deep breath and remember that your relatives show their love to you in their own cultural ways.

  7. Expect a culture shock in your own home country, remember that you might have changed since the last time you came home, and perhaps so did your friends and family. Your habits might have changed, or your perspectives on aspects of life did. Remember not to impose your new beliefs or habits, if you have any, on people at home, and respect those of your loved ones. Like traveling to countries you’ve never visited before, visiting your home country may also open your mind and introduce you to a new culture, while providing you with opportunities to grow to be a better person. Sure, there’s likely some disconnect between your life and those of your friends and family, but as long as you remain respectful, you’ll get through it wonderfully.

  8. Indulge in food and other things you can’t find abroad. Whenever I go home, I would go eat my favourite Indonesian street foods or my grandma’s cooking. I would also rejoice in the sunny, tropical weather! One of the best things about going back to your home country is, you’re taking a vacation in a familiar and loved place (well, if you do love it, that is!)

  9. Find and learn new things to love about your home country. It’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of my home country, especially since it is starkly different from Canada, where I have gotten so used to live in. Finding new things to love is more challenging, but also rewarding. You get to keep that connection with your own culture, heritage and tradition, and it may help you feel more connected with people at home, too.

  10. Tell your friends and family you love them. Never forget this point. Let them know that despite the distance between you all, you always hold them close to your heart.

If you follow all of the above steps, your visit at home will likely be more peaceful, relaxed and eventful. Traveling to other countries is fun, but traveling to your home country is a different happiness altogether!

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