Skip to Content


As much as I hate to admit this, my experience of living abroad was not always sunshine and rainbows. Living so independently in an unfamiliar country forced me to directly confront many of my issues. I don’t mind admitting that, yes, I do suffer from depression. I’ve come to realize that almost everyone does at some point in their life. However, suffering from depression while living abroad can prove to be an even more trying situation. You may not know who to turn to or what steps you can take. If you feel like this may apply to you, here are my recommendations on how to deal with depression while living abroad: 

1. Open up to your friends

When you aren’t living in your home country, it may be hard to find someone that you feel comfortable opening up to. However, I promise that once you do, you’ll feel 100 times better just knowing that you told someone. When I chose to share my situation with a friend in Chile, it turned out that she had also been struggling with something similar. In the end, we were able to become a support system for one another. Realizing that you are not the only person who goes through this and that you are not alone is key.

2. Find an activity that makes you feel content

I use the word “content” instead of “happy” here because when I was depressed, I truly didn’t feel that anything made me happy. Nonetheless, I found a few things that helped me to feel content. One of these activities was attending a language exchange where I could practice my Spanish and meet fellow expats. Another was taking a bubble bath at the end of the day and listening to an audiobook. This may sound like something minimal, but it made a massive difference in my day.

3. If you need to cry, cry

This may be because I’m a huge crier, but I’m a firm believer that if you feel sad, crying it out will help at least a little bit. At my lowest point, I probably cried three times a day. Each time, I think I felt slightly better.

4. Investigate your options for in-country care

Although going to talk to a psychologist may seem intimidating, it may be the best option. I put off going for a long time because I thought I could fix my problems on my own. Long story short, I was wrong. Everyone struggles with something, and it’s a psychologist’s job to help you root out your problem and take steps towards feeling better. If you get to the point where you strongly believe you are suffering from clinical depression, please take the step to make an appointment with a psychologist. They can help you decide if you may need also to begin prescription medication.

If you’re looking for how to deal with depression from being far away from family during the holidays, make sure to check out my friend Olga’s post on the Top 5 Ways to Fight the Holiday Blues When You Are Away from Home.

Do you have any recommendations on how to deal with depression while living abroad?

As much as we hate to admit it, living abroad isn't always sunshine and rainbows. This guide will explain how to deal with depression while living abroad.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Roy froome

Sunday 17th of December 2017

I’ve spent 9 years living in Mexico. Before that i did 5 years in Europe. I’m originally from the U.K. I’d say the three major issue are: have far less choice and opportunity when seeking work, and this may lead to you working in a job that you hate. True support and true friendships....many people you will meet will move on, leave the country you are in or the friends you make are superficial.....Language .....unless you know the language very well, then you are very limited as to a social life....banks, cafes, restaurants, laundry...fine by creating close friendship without being completely bilingual.....difficult. .....and of course the whole different culture..... I’d say the job is the most important..and a job that pays well.....then find a hobby and you can meet people through that...

Ashley Hughes

Friday 10th of February 2017

Great article. I've found that one reason for depression while living abroad is because none of the activities you are used to, or grew up around are in the country you are now in. For example, I used to live in snow country and one of my favorite things was snowmobiling. Now I live in a hot place and I miss those snow activities that I enjoyed so much. Something that helped me is having a purpose. If you have something that makes you get up every morning, it makes living abroad worth it.

Fiona Mai

Tuesday 17th of January 2017

There was a time when I also was quite depressed while living abroad. I come from the sunny part of South East Asia, so when I had to endure the Finnish winter for the first time while studying there, it all just felt too much for me to bear :) With hindsight I think it's really useful to research carefully about the social and cultural characteristics of the country you're moving to, as it will help prevent depression. It will also make you feel more confident in yourself to overcome obstacles in your life abroad.


Tuesday 17th of January 2017

My family moved to another country and after several years, I decided to move back to my home country. While it's still my home country which is still familiar to me, but sometimes I also do feel depressed. Then I think it may because I feel 'homesick', without my family around, I don't feel home. But now I am feeling better after I talked this issue to one of my close friend. I realized the problem and I just don't want stay in this situation. All the tips you mentioned are helpful. Hope everything is getting better for your now.


Tuesday 17th of January 2017

While I did not suffer from depression when I was in another country, quite a few of my friends did. It does get difficult and I keep telling them to pursue their hobbies.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.