The excitement of moving to university can be so intense, the opportunity to experience a new country, meet new people and live independently. But, all the excitement can turn sour when homesickness hits, especially for international students.
Here are some tips to remember to help you deal with your anxiety and get you through your first year away from home:
1. You are not alone
Remember that you are not the only student that feels homesick, it happens to more people than you might think. So do not hide from the people around you out of fear or misunderstanding. Isolation and loneliness can make your homesickness ten times worse. Therefore, be open, positive and adventurous when you start university.
2. Home Comforts
Bring your home comforts with you to university, something that will no doubt make you smile. Homesickness is a sad, heavy feeling so lighten up your heart and mind with happy memories and fond feelings of home. If you have a favourite activity or food that you love, get your friends involved and share your culture and home with them too.
3. Friends and Societies
It can be difficult for international students to relate to other students or communicate in the right way, but this does not mean you will not make friends. There are thousands of students at universities, there will be your people there somewhere. Societies at university are excellent ways to build relationships with people who have the same interests as you and meet up regularly. So put yourself out there, join a society or club in the things you enjoy, if one doesn’t exist, make it!
4. Only a phone call away
Sometimes the distance away from family and friends can feel huge. But do not forget that they are only one phone call away or text or email. Stay in touch with family, tell them about your adventures at university and they will tell you all about home. Separation can be very difficult, however, with your home comforts, calls home and knowing that holidays are not too far away can subside the homesickness greatly.
5. Student Support
Universities often offer support specifically for international students. Do not be afraid to talk to someone about what you are feeling and why as being able to share with someone who you do not know can be very comforting. Sometimes it is harder to show weakness and vulnerability to those we know, so counseling or support groups can be a great alternative to get things off your chest.
Do not forget to look after yourself first. Make sure you are coping well, balancing university and the responsibilities that come with it, do not let yourself burn out. Illness can add to the debilitating feeling of homesickness. Organise your time, look after your wellbeing and think positively.
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