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Living in a new city - Dealing with hardships

Published 5 years ago by Grace - Category : Living abroad

You have been dreaming of this moment for some time, you have arrived to your new international destination for your exciting internship !

You have settled into your accommodation, checked out your neighbourhood and have found your bearings. You have located your nearest coffee shop and you may have even found a lovely running track in the local park you want to try out on the weekends.

And yet, you are not 100% excited and positive to do your internship.

There is a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, a shiver crawling up the back of your spine. But this was supposed to be magical and wonderful, I hear you ask yourself – yes it was supposed to be, and yes it still will be!

Negative feelings are completely normal !

The journey you have embarked on is a giant step and an enormous leap of faith outside of your comfort zone! You are testing your abilities and pushing yourself to your limits, so it is completely normal to have doubts and worries – we are only human, after all.

Once the excitement of moving to a foreign land has worn off, what often happens is negative emotions creep in. We may miss having the support of our family and friends. We may miss our weekend routines and being able to laugh and play and know exactly where and how everything will be, every second of the day.

If this is your first time overseas or living away from home, be prepared for these bad days. You are not going to have an amazing time every single second of every single day on your internship – this is a reality. But the lesson here is to not let these days define your whole experience. Your internship can still be wonderful as long as you accept that there will be some negatives with it.


Here are a few tips you can use to combat those bad days or negative emotions :

  1. Schedule regular phone or Skype conversations with family and friends to combat homesickness. If you speak to someone you are comfortable with and who knows you well at least once a week, you won’t feel so alone.
  2. Keep up the exercise – we all know how those happy chemicals work in our brains! And exercise is the fastest way to boost our moods when we’re feeling down in the dumps. This could mean a 30-minute walk after work, or a run in the park every few days. Whatever your choice, stick to a routine and you will find you will cope much easier.
  3. Eat healthy – there is nothing worse for our moods than piling ourselves up with bad sugars and fats! Stick to as many vegetables and fruits as possible and keep drinking plenty of water as well. The cuisine may be slightly different to what you’re used to, but trust me, there will always be a healthy option for you.
  4. Don’t drink too much alcohol – depending where you are, some cultures spend a lot of social time around alcohol (I’m looking at you UK!). Remember that alcohol is a depressant, and while it may make you feel good in the short-term, it is not good for us over a long period of time – especially if it is not apart of our normal routine at home.
  5. Keep a diary – often writing down thoughts and negative emotions helps us process and work through what is happening around us. Suddenly our worries don’t seem that big once we can physically see them on paper. Writing isn’t for everyone, maybe you would like to draw instead - but physically getting our thoughts out of our heads can often help.


The biggest thing to remember is that you are not the only one experiencing this – every intern goes through the same feelings of doubts at some stage during their internship.

Remember that what you are doing is wonderful and you are growing as a person every day you are there.

By the end of your internship, you won’t remember the bad days, you will only remember your internship as a wonderful journey full of excitement and challenges and you will wish to go back and experience it all again !

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