I’ve been here in Baku for two-and-a-half weeks now and although it’s been an incredibly interesting, exciting and rewarding experience, I can’t get away from a nagging feeling that things aren’t quite right. It’s a feeling of loneliness, of isolation. In other words, I’ve come down with a bout of homesickness.
Let me explain. In London I’m constantly surrounded by people – I’m a very sociable person and have a very full social life. I live with my girlfriend and the only time I get to spend on my own is either when I’m out running or cycling! Being in Baku is different. Don’t get me wrong, the people here are very friendly and helpful, and the students in my three IELTS classes are all lovely.
The problem is when I leave work and go home. Although my apartment is very nice and I have everything I need, the one thing I don’t have is company. Living on your own in a foreign country can be a very difficult experience. I read a lot and try to go online, but I miss conversations. If I turn the TV on for company, all I can watch are channels in a language I don’t understand. On a good day I’ll get an English Premier League football match, on a bad day I might get a badly dubbed movie!
It’s a strange feeling, and it has really helped me to put myself in the shoes of some of our students at The London School of English, and understand how and why they can often feel blue. The good news is that these feelings never last for too long, and there are things we can do to help us avoid feeling down.
I’ve heard that there are four common stages of homesickness: exaltation, frustration, depression and acceptance. I’ll talk about these more in a later blog, but for now I’d like to know if you’ve ever experienced any of these feelings when you’ve been away from home? Why don’t you drop me a line and let me know?
- a nagging feeling - (adj.+n.) a negative feeling or emotion that won't go away and that you can't ignore
- isolation - (n.) being completely alone
- to come down with a bout of - (fixed expression) to be affected by a negative feeling or an illness
- sociable - (adj.) someone who likes to be with other people
- don't get me wrong - (fixed expression) used to make sure that you are not being misunderstood
- dubbed - (adj.) to provide a film with a soundtrack in a foreign language
- to put yourself in somebody else's shoes - (idiom) to imagine how another person is feeling
- to feel blue/to feel down - (idiom/phr. v.) to feel depressed, sad or upset
- exaltation - (n.) a feeling or state of being very excited
- to drop somebody a line - (idiom) to contact somebody, often by phone but also by email
Written by Andy, from The London School of English
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