The enthusiasm is wearing off: homesick!

31 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi all!

I feel a bit shy about posting this, but since I have always received lovely advice/support here, I figured I'd go ahead.

 

Here goes: I am pursuing an internship in Germany, and was set to stay until January. Everything was great for the first 2 months: the city is gorgeous, my coworkers are amazing, I got to do new and, at that time, exciting tasks (like making beds! - I work in a Youth hostel). From the top of my little cloud I asked my boss if I could stay longer.

Then I discovered German bureaucracy, or maybe just my boss' sheer lack of interest in me, and it took nearly a month to get a reply. In that month, I've "sobered up", only to realize, that in the end, I haven't made friends, my coworkers are not so amazing as to remember my name after 3 months of full-time work or take me out for drinks , and the toxic fumes from the cleaning products, and the backache of making beds are getting to me.

While I have all the papers to lengthen my stay, and my boss is now pressing to do so, I am seriously backing out. The main reason is homesickness. It's dumb, but here it is. I don't miss people so much as familiar things, like having a conversation filled with common cultural references, or chit-chatting with salespeople. I miss knowing exactly where to go to buy whatever I need.

On the one hand, my original plan should I go home wouldn't play out like I thought it would: I had intended to go back to school to embark on a new career. I am nowhere near ready for the classes I registered in. If I don't carry on my studies, I would look for work, but in the current economic climate in Canada, that's just sheer fantasy. But I would be in familiar surroundings, able to argue my way in a job interview, and not having to explain why I speak French AND am Canadian (that really puzzles people here).

Should I stay, it would be 2 months of repetitive tasks, and loneliness. But I would get paid, a 6-month internship would look better on a CV, and Munich does take my breath away.

 

Should I act on the homesickness? And then, of course, how appropriate do you think it would be to refuse my boss, after campaigning to stay?

I'd be curious to know other people's take on this, I have asked my parents, but they are so lovely that they advocate "Whatever you choose we'll support you", which isn't a great help..I feel I'm sorta caught between a rock and a hard place..

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Posted

You're not the first person to suffer this, and you certainly won't be the last.

 

Maybe you can gain some insights from the eleventy other "homesick" threads.

 

But I don't think your problem is really homesickness, but rather disappointment with your job. Did you really move to another country to be a menial laborer? Of course you didn't, so you're dissatisfied as a result.

 

I can understand where you're coming from, because I spent my first 9 months in Germany waiting tables in a hotel restaurant, but they never made me wash dishes or clean the toilets.

 

So now you can either suck it up and work another three months in a crappy job or you can go home to your friends and family and start over. The choice is yours - nobody can make it for you. But given the combination of a crappy, low-paying job, a shitty boss, and ambivalent co-workers, I know what I'd decide.

 

Good luck.

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Posted

 

Or take a train trip down to Venice. Your first time there is magical no matter what the season, and so are all the subsequent trips.

 

Second that :)

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Posted

Surround yourself with familair things here in Germany, go to the cinema and watch films in English, go to TT Munich meetings and get a friend or family member to come and stay with you.

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Posted

 

Should I act on the homesickness?

Can you get a week off work and afford a flight home? I was feeling pretty much the same way you are, way back in 1995. I booked a cheap flight for me and my kid, and went back home for 10 days. It really helped; kind of filled up the tank and helped me get through the next few months, by which time, I had completely gotten over any signs of homesickness.

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Posted

Depends on how you see it:

 

If you see this as a challenge you have to overcome; something that is character-forming, that is hard but helpful, which will make you a better, more experienced person if you manage to do it ... then I'd say stick with it - it isn't that long, you can find ways to make yourself feel better, and at the end you will be proud and have all those benefits.

 

If on the other hand it is just pointless and won't help you that much (two months, six months - not a big difference), then leave without a care in the world.

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Posted

 

explain why I speak French AND am Canadian (that really puzzles people here).

 

 

LOL. Germans like to make fun about Americans' supposed ignorance of geography, but they are also often quite ignorant.

 

The plight of the French Canadians and hence the varying levels of desire for separation. Not only do many anglophone Canadians ignore them, so does most of the world it turns out. Where I am currently residing, a lot of people I have met seem to have absolutely no idea where Canada is even located on a map, and couldn't even tell you English is spoken there, let alone French.

 

OP, remember phase 1 is the holiday of being anywhere, but it's totally normal that at some point it won't feel like a holiday anymore and it will just get annoying. For most people that too passes with time (but not for everybody). Good luck, whatever you decide!

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Posted

Not much to add to what's been said really. If it will be useful to stick it out - and I don't just mean to your cv, I mean to you as a person - then stay. I did a course for a couple of months away from home, and I realised very quickly that the course content was boring (but hard work in terms of a lot to get through), the teacher loathed me (and I returned her loathing with interest) and my fellow students were nice enough people but we had very little in common and not much to talk about. I stuck it out because (i) I wanted the certificate and (ii) I'm pig headed like that. I've started so I'll finish if it kills me. Oh and it wasn't cheap. Was it good for me? Not sure, but if nothing else it taught me that I can stick something out if I really need to, and I think that handling the situations I found myself in was character building. I came out of it with more confidence.

 

If you do decide to stay, then take the opportunity to do the things that you can only do here - visit Venice, go to France, make sure that you see everything in Munich that you want to see and visit some of the other parts of Germany. If you give yourself rewards for sticking it out on your days off, the time will go faster.

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Posted

You need to establish a support system for yourself. I mean a circle of friends and a comfortable environment. If you don't do that things will break down. If you truly feel you can't do this, it is better to go back home.

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Posted

Awww, here's a big hug. I've always had trouble making decisions, and I can just imagine how this one feels for you. Couple of weeks til Christmas and you're stuck feeling lonely and homesick thousands of miles from home. What you said about your parents made me laugh: mine are just like that, too. It's for the best: we do need to learn to make our own decisions! (Full disclosure: I'm almost 50. It doesn't get easier with age!)

 

I definitely second anne k.'s comment (my green there!). If you decide to go home, don't go in defeat, don't blame yourself, and don't feel guilty about your boss, for god's sake! You owe him nothing. Feel good about the fact that your home is someplace you love, someplace that nurtures you and still offers you a path forward. Set your heart on getting off to that new start as quickly as you can. What do you need to do to get yourself ready for those classes you wanted to take? Make sure you are remaining active and positive.

 

Meanwhile, if you can see something to be gained from staying and you think you can hack it, why not? As the others have said, maybe you want to test yourself, or you are still curious about what else this experience has to offer you. It won't be all THAT long, after all. In my opinion, the CV argument is a bit false. You sound too young for the CV to really mean that much. What I hear instead is that you are an intelligent, sensitive, hard-working person with an understanding of work commitment and a desire to work hard, at the right job. I think I'd hire you just for having tried the internship in Germany, whether you worked at it for 3 or 6 months.

 

Can you promise me one thing, though, for your parents' sake? If you stay the extra time, please DON'T go falling in love with some German guy and deciding you want to stay here. Please!

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Posted

Did my first stint in Germany 1970-71. In many ways, I couldn't wait to get back to the UK. Hey, I'll be "at home" again, be with my friends, not having the problems of using a language not my own, and my job in Germany had involved a lot of stress and extremely long hours.

 

But pretty soon I started missing Germany. Either the country had changed me or I'd changed whilst there. Sought the company of German expats in Britain, travelled to Germany frequently, and made a few attempts to move back.

 

Years passed - and I was at least spending my summers working on German river-cruises. Finally made my second move, to Berlin, in 2007.

 

Just being anedotal here, not attempting to give advice because I'm not in the OP's shoes. All I'm saying is that it's often possible to have more than one bite of the cherry,

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Posted

I vote you should stay for another 2 months... just don't meet a man (or woman!) and fall in love...

 

(Somewhere on this site I tell my story about folding A4 paper and stuffing envelopes for 3 days solid. It drove me bonkers. I have a university degree. However, I was getting paid for it and it stood me in good stead later. Really.)

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Posted

Hi,

I agree with featherlight. Grin and bear the job for the two months but use as much of your free time to get out and explore the opportunities in and around Munich.

 

The list of places to visit is long! Cheap weekend or offpeak train/plane tickets to Salzburg, Venice,Milan,Turin,Vienna etc.

 

Two months is only 8 weekends! So you will probably run out of time, before you run out of interesting places to visit.

 

I don't know why but most germans seem to have trouble remembering names so don't worry about it.Salespeople here are often left lacking in the soft skill of "chitchattyness". We are not in Canada,where you can have a chat with the cashier WITHOUT the customers behind you moaning and/or ramming the shopping cart into your heels.

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Posted

dude(ette?) - 2 months must seem like a lifetime. Well, it is and it isn't. You've the chance to do and see some amazing things, IF you make the effort.

 

make a bucket list... something new to do each week.. ie, explore a new town, goto a concert, visit a club, join a new TT club etc.. - only 8 things!! :)

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