International Students

9 ways to deal with homesickness

You might've been raring to go before uni started, but it's natural to feel a bit homesick sometimes. We've got some great tips on how to get through it.

coping with homesickness

Credit: Kristina Alexanderson – Flickr

Moving away for university is a big transition, whether you've come from the other side of the world or half an hour down the road.

If you're suffering from homesickness, just remember you're certainly not the only one! Homesickness can be quite a personal feeling that not everyone feels comfortable talking about. There's a chance that those around you are feeling the burn too, but are just keeping schtum.

To give you a helping hand, we've put together our top tips for combating that longing for home, so you can concentrate on making the most of your uni years!

There's reportedly been a 28% rise in UK students seeking counselling. Don't suffer in silence!

Ways to deal with homesickness

  1. Don't give yourself a hard time

    Homesickness uni tips

    This is perhaps the most important message of all, so we've whacked it right at the top of the list.

    Feeling homesick isn't a weakness, nor is it something you should beat yourself up about. Missing home is something that affects most students – you'll only make the situation worse if you think of it as something you should feel guilty about.

  2. Don't spend too much time in your room

    go outside stop homesickness

    It might be tempting to treat of your room as your own little safe haven, but staying in too much will only serve to make you feel worse.

    Isolating yourself will make your feelings more intense, as you'll spend even more time pondering on what you miss about home.

    Try to keep yourself busy by taking part in social activities, studying at the library rather than in your room, getting a part time job or even trying out some extracurricular activities.

  3. Keep your expectations realistic

    One of the biggest myths about university is that every day is like a wild party where you enjoy minimal responsibilities and get drunk most nights of the week.

    Well, for the majority of us this is a myth, anyway! Try to be realistic in what you expect from university and work out ways to improve your experience if it's not quite what you wanted.

    Uni is what you make it – if there's something you're not happy with, it's down to you to do something about it!

  4. Bring home comforts

    Homesickness university

    Whether it's your favourite teddy bear, or a rag of a blanket that your nan gave you when you were seven, we all have objects that cheers us up when we're not feeling our best.

    Whatever your comfort things are, make sure you bring them to uni with you. Don't be worried about the stick you'll get for having cuddly toys in your bedroom – chances are, your roomies have theirs hidden somewhere too!

  5. Stay positive

    Homesickness tips

    Of course, this can be a lot easier said than done, but making a concerted effort to carry a positive attitude around with you will help you to combat homesickness in a major way.

    Plan things into your day that you enjoy doing and can look forward to, whether it's socialising with friends or a nice hot bath and an episode of Bake Off.

    Staying positive also makes you a pleasure to be around, so you'll probably find it much easier to make new friends (which also helps to keep homesickness at bay). That said, if you are struggling, don't feel as though you can't tell people you're unhappy. Friends and professional organisations are always on hand to help.

  6. Ask for help

    Homesick ask for help uniCredit: Justin C. – Flickr

    The jump from school to university can be tough to get your head around at first, and there's no shame in asking for help. If you're having any issues with your course (or anything else for that matter) don't suffer in silence.

    If you're feeling homesick, worrying about your studies or your finances will only make things worse, so take steps to sort any issues out or get support as soon as they arise.

    As well as approaching your lecturers directly, you'll also find that universities have counselling service available too – use them, that's what they're there for!

  7. Explore your surroundings

    Explore to beat homesickness at uniCredit: Kenny Louie – Flickr

    One of the main reasons we feel homesick is often to do with being in unfamiliar surroundings, so it's a great idea to set aside some time to explore your uni town or city so you'll feel more at home.

    In fact, not getting to know their uni city better is one of the biggest regrets we've heard previous students cite when they graduate.

    Go for walks, do some sightseeing, volunteer with the local community or just get to grips with what's available on your uni campus. You're only around for a few years, so now's the time to make the most of it!

  8. Keep in touch (but not too much!)

    Keep in touch homesickness

    Whether it's a phone call, a Whatsapp group chat or a letter in the post, keeping in touch with your friends and fam helps to close that gap and make you feel more involved with things back home.

    However, the other side of the coin is that keeping in touch too much can actually make you feel that distance more! The trick is to not let it get to the stage where you're communicating with people back home more than you are with people at uni.

    Remember, it will always be better to do fun stuff at uni as well, so you have some stories to tell people back home!

  9. Keep healthy

    Exercise to beat homesickness

    When you're feeling rubbish it can be tempting to lie on the sofa watching Rom-Coms crying into a massive tub of Ben and Jerry's, but this is likely to make you feel a lot worse.

    Keeping healthy (and fighting off that freshers' flu) will help to keep you feeling much more positive about life – it's all about that positive cycle!

    Check out our list of low cost fitness ideas if you need some inspiration on how to keep fit and happy on a budget.

Remember there's always help out there. If you're struggling with your mental health there are services available at your university which are free to access.

If you'd rather speak to someone anonymously, charities like Student Minds are there for support.

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