by Samantha Holden
Something that is often not talked about is homesickness particularly if you live ‘nearish’ the university. I felt a bit stupid feeling homesick when I lived 1.5 hours away and my flatmate did not miss her home in Dubai. International students often have prepared for moving away from home as they know from a young age they want higher education abroad or have experienced boarding school. I thought when moving to university that I would not feel homesick because I had been away from home many times, therefore, the feeling of homesickness was quite unexpected.
At university, there are a lot of social activities but at the end of the day you return to a single dorm and it means there is plenty of time to think and reflect. I found this part the hardest part of university; when you had time on your own. I am an only child so was used to my own company but had not expected to miss my parents as much as I did. You go from seeing these two people nearly every day off your life to just a quick text a day. I kept the feeling to myself but began to feel quite down about it and wondered if uni was for me. I went to speak to wellbeing and support and felt better just for talking through my homesickness and worries about university. I would definitely recommend booking an appointment if you feel homesick or worried about anything it is completely normal even if it makes you sound like a ‘wimp’. They offer email sessions if you prefer or you can ring nightline- they also offer advice on social media. Wellbeing and support also have a tent on Welcome Week make sure to stop by if you feel homesick as they often have lots of people there so you will meet people in similar scenarios.
When you move to uni there are some tips that I found help me to reduce homesickness:
Remember that you are all in the same boat – do not be afraid to talk about it.
Take some photos that remind you of home and people you love.
Make the room yours not just any uni room.
Arrange when you are going to meet your parents- I would suggest at least two weeks after you move in. It gives you a day to ‘achieve’ for when you feel down.
Stay in touch with your friends from home – Facetime them as much as you need- I did not want to seem like a bother but when talking to them found that they also found the change a bit difficult.
Try to get out and do as much can as this will keep your mind away from what you are missing.
Things will get better – by the end of the year I loved living away from home and did not want to go back as campus felt like home.