Dealing with homesickness at university

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Published by Eleni
on 13/02/2020

Feeling homesick is normal

Whether you are just 30 minutes away from home or studying abroad (like myself), you might experience feeling homesick, and if you do, I want you to know that it’s absolutely normal!

The plane journey back to University

Homesickness is something a lot of people struggle with but there are many ways to cope with it. I’ll share some with you that have actually helped me in the past and continue to do so!

What homesickness means for me

Experts describe homesickness as the distress caused by being away from home. Of course, ‘home’ can mean many different things to different people. For me, it means knowing my family is there, friends I grew up with, and familiar places. Leaving home behind is definitely not easy and it is not unusual to feel homesick nor is it something that you should be ashamed of. Moving away for university is a big step and you should be proud of yourself for taking it!

“Leaving home after the Christmas break was the hardest”.

For me, it wasn’t the first couple of months at university that I found the hardest; it was when I left home to go back to university after the Christmas break. I have been studying in England for four years now and honestly, feeling homesick is not something you can “get used to with time”. Instead, you can manage the way you deal with it!

My home town

Managing homesickness

First of all, you need to remember that it’s okay to go home. If you want to go home every weekend, you shouldn’t let anyone make you feel like it’s not normal. However, if going home every weekend isn’t feasible, either because of distance or university responsibilities, don’t panic! Take a look at your deadlines and the university’s term dates and identify when it’s best to travel home!

Also, remember that we are in 2020 and we should be grateful for how easy it is for most of us to communicate with each other. Don’t forget to message, call, or even better to video call your friends and family! Sometimes I video call my parents or best friends and we stay on the phone for hours. This really makes me feel like I’m there with them and all the bad thoughts and stress immediately go away.

Video calling my friends and family

Try not to wallow in homesickness

The worst thing you can do when you start feeling homesick is to feed your homesickness! I know it can sometimes hit you so badly that all you want to do is stay in bed and look at pictures from home (if that’s you right now don’t worry, I feel you!). However, isolating yourself from everything and everyone isn’t going to help. We all meet at least a few people at university that we get along with very well. Make sure to call them, plan to go for coffee, to the cinema, or even just to study together!

Studying with my friends

Bring some home comforts to university

Something that I found very helpful when I felt homesick was treating university and my new life in general as not something sooo different from home! Why not bring a little bit of home to university? At the end of the day, you are still yourself. Being in a different place doesn’t mean that you are a different person. You can grow and become more independent but you are still you. There’s nothing wrong with bringing what you love about home to university!

If you have a wall full of pictures and motivational quotes in your room at home, create a similar one in your student accommodation. If you have a favourite place in your hometown to go to and relax, explore and find a new spot. I can assure you there are lots of places in Birmingham that you might fall in love with! Here are some of my favourites.

Some of my favourite photos and pictures from home

Try not to rush home before you are settled

If next academic year is going to be your first year at university and you fear that you might get homesick, my advice would be to allow yourself time to adapt to your new environment before you go home. Creating a stable environment before visiting home for the first time makes it easier for you when returning back to it. So take your time and don’t rush to go back home straight after fresher’s week as this might trigger homesickness quite early on. Meet new people, new places, and give them a chance because I know that nothing is like home but university can really be the best years of your life if you try to enjoy the moment!

I really hope reading this can help you deal with homesickness… and just remember, you’re never alone!

Also, if you didn’t know, the University of Birmingham offers a lot of wellbeing support!

If you want to contact me about student life at Birmingham, you can do so by messaging me on Instagram.

Lots of love and positive vibes only!

Eleni x x x