Part 2 of a two part series on homesickness
In our last post about homesickness, we talked about how our first two groups of Mobilizers dealt with it. Now that we’ve deployed three sessions, we can share our observations on their experiences a bit more.
We now know that homesickness doesn’t kick in until about six weeks into the program. The first month is the “honeymoon phase.” Most Mobilizers are in awe of their surroundings, whether it’s the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains or the expansiveness of the prairies. In those first few weeks, they tend to stay busy experiencing their new environment.
As time progresses however, the novelty of the setting wears off a bit, and they realize they’re doing a real job. They get into a routine of waking up, going to work, going home, and doing it all again the next day. And once that routine is established – usually about six weeks into a deployment – that’s when homesickness hits.
The first group we deployed got hit the hardest; 85% of them experienced some of the anxiety, sadness and preoccupation that can come with leaving everything familiar behind. The second group, however, didn’t have as hard a time; only 40% reported feeling homesick. The reason? They had the support of the first group – people who had been through it and come up with coping strategies that worked.
Strategies for engaging new Mobilizers
So for the third session, which started this past September, Mobilize instituted a formal mentorship program. We deployed a combination of senior and new staff to each location so Mobilizers already in the program could act as mentors. New staff can count on their mentors for anything from help finding things in the community to lending a sympathetic ear. The mentorships have already resulted in some great friendships – it’s great to have someone to hang out with, grab a coffee, and just talk.
Mentors also organize activities to keep new staff active and focused. Popular experiences include hiking trips to mountain summits, white water rafting, group pot lucks, bowling, and karaoke nights. They’re fun, engaging, and help build team spirit and a new sense of family that make home feel a little less far away.
Another strategy we encourage to fight homesickness is to join the program with friends from home. The program deploys workers in pods, so why not gather a few friends to share your adventure?
Need more ideas for fighting homesickness? See our last post on this topic – it has lots of tips for feeling more at home in a new place.
More about Mobilize
Mobilize is a unique youth employment program that’s designed to fill labour shortages left behind by the changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and offer work/travel adventures to Canadian millennials. Whether you’re a potential Mobilizer looking for a cool job in an amazing location or an employer looking for a motivated team, get in touch.