This article about how to beat homesickness was updated by the Great British Mag content team on 14 September, 2021.
Homesickness is a very normal part of going to university. After all, this is a life-changing experience and you are probably moving away from the family home for the first time. For some homesickness is just feeling a bit sad but for others it can bring on anxiety.
The good news is it will pass and you will start enjoying university life. To get you there we have put together these 12 tips.
1. Remember that culture shock and homesickness are normal
Culture shock and homesickness are so normal that you’re almost guaranteed to experience them. After all you’re leaving everything that is familiar to you, including the support of your friends and family, behind. But also remember you have the support of your university and will be joining hundreds of other students that are going through the same thing. Seek out help and attend the events organised by the university to help you settle in.
2. Make a UK bucket list
Sometimes, when you feel very homesick, you want to just stay in your room – but if you do that, you’ll miss out on all the amazing things that your new home has to offer. Write down all the things you want to see and do in the UK and hang it up somewhere you can see it. If you need some ideas, check out this list.
3. Join a club or society
Moving to a new country can be very lonely, but the best cure for loneliness is to find some new friends. Your university will have lots of clubs and societies. Find one or two that interest you, sign up, and meet some people who are like you.
4. Find a restaurant that serves food from your country
Having to adjust to new foods is one of the hardest parts about studying in the UK. Fortunately, the UK is very multicultural and you should have no trouble finding a restaurant that serves all your favourite dishes.
5. Decorate your flat
It’s hard to feel at home when your walls are bare and your couch is ugly. Even if you can’t make permanent changes to your university housing you can still give it some personality. Have photos of friends and family up on display, bring somethings that remind you of home, and buy some posters. Go on, make it feel like your new home!
6. Get some exercise
Exercising is a great way to meet some new people while giving your brain a boost. If you can, join a class or a team. Try to make exercising part of your regular routine—it will help you to stay healthy as well as providing your daily life with some stability. You could find that you’re dealing with stress at university and exercise can help with this. How does exercise help with stress? Exercise can tire you out making you feel more relaxed, it also can help release endorphins in your brain.
7. Make a friend from your home country
We know you’ve travelled a long way and are keen to make British friends and meet people from around the world, but sometimes you just need to talk to someone who understands. Having a friend from your home country who can speak your language and understand all your jokes and cultural references makes a huge difference. Be sure to join your cultural society at university.
8. Organise a home foods party
The next time you throw a party, ask all your new friends to bring one of their favourite dishes from home. Not only will you save money on party food, you’ll be able to taste foods from all around the world—including your home country.
9. Do the things you loved to do at home
Moving to a new place doesn’t have to mean giving up the things you love. Play your favourite sport, practice your religion, and celebrate your holidays. Check if your university has a club or society dedicated to something you love, or find a Meetup in your city.
10. Get creative
Sometimes, the things that you miss just can’t be found in your new city. This is when you have to get creative (and maybe a little silly). For example, if you are from a cold climate and you miss the snow, try visiting your local ice-skating rink… or just stand in the frozen foods aisle in a T-shirt.
11. Limit your social media
It’s easy to spend your day scrolling through Instagram, looking at pictures of all your friends back home having fun without you, but this can make your homesickness worse. Instead of wishing you were somewhere else, share photos of all the new things you’re experiencing—or just put your phone down for a few hours.
12. Talk to someone
It’s a myth that calling home will make your homesickness worse. While you shouldn’t spend all your time on the phone, talking to your family and friends back home should make you feel loads better. If you’re worried that your homesickness is seriously affecting your health, then seek professional support or read our student mental health guide.