How to deal with homesickness at college?

For most students, university is the first time in their lives where they will be living away from their families. Adjusting to dorm life can be difficult, regardless of whether you’ve moved half an hour away or halfway around the world. 

While you will gain a lot of independence and a chance to make friends at university, being away from your family can sometimes cause you to feel lonely or homesick.

What is important to remember is that homesickness is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. While you can do nothing to cure homesickness abroad, you can reduce its effect by making new friends and immersing yourself in a daily routine.

Tips to deal with homesickness at the university

While it can be challenging, there are various ways to cure homesickness. Below are some tips that can help through this difficult time:

  • Get out of your room: Homesickness can strike the hardest when you are in your room surrounded by things that remind you of your parents and friends. While it is okay to talk to people back home, it can sometimes turn into an unhealthy habit—one that makes your homesickness worse. If you find yourself lonely and homesick in your room, you can instead go to a campus coffee shop and do your reading there or head out to a library to write your paper. Challenging yourself to get out of your room and being around other people can lift your spirits and cheer you up.
  • Give yourself a day to be sad: If you’re really struggling one day, just let yourself be sad and miss home. The key is to let yourself be sad for just one day. After that day passes, you should move on so that you do not get stuck in the same rut. You can either go to a campus event, have a study session with friends, or join a club to ensure that you focus on all the great things your school has to offer.
  • Turn your college into your sanctuary: This point tops the list of homesickness cures. Your college can never replace the home you left, but it can turn into a home away from home. Reflect on the things that you loved most about your school life and recreate those at your university. Did you have great friends? Meet new people each week. Did you love your community involvement? Volunteer with a campus volunteer centre, run for student government or work for the student newspaper. Did you enjoy your extra-curricular activities? Find several clubs that focus on your interests and sign up to be involved with their events.
  • Realise that it’s never too late to connect: An advantage of college life is that there is no limit to opportunities to connect with people. There are plenty of social clubs, student organisations and activity groups for you to connect with like-minded people. If you are unsure whom to approach, you can contact the Office of Student Activities (or your campus equivalent) and ask to see a list of clubs. Being around other people who share the same interests as you can help you find a group of friends and help you stop feeling homesick at university. 
  • Know you’re not alone: You may feel like you’re the only person struggling with homesickness at university, but that may not be true. Instead of feeling sad, you can take the initiative to reach out to other people who may be feeling homesick at university. Plan a movie night in your room where everyone can watch a DVD. This can help you bond with other people and make new friends.
  • Get out and keep busy: While it might be tempting to just sit in your room, it’s important to get out, even if it’s just for a short while. Joining your friends for coffee, going to a society meeting, heading to the gym or even just attending all your lectures can get your mind off your homesickness. Scheduling social activities can also give you things to look forward to and help you build a network at your university.
  • Bring some home comforts: When packing for university bring your favourite bedding, photos of your family or friends and other trinkets that might help make your university room feel as homely as possible. Take whatever you need to feel more comfortable in your surroundings.
  • Give yourself time: Some students take very little time to adjust to university life while others may find it more difficult. Moving away from home can be quite a big life adjustment—hence, do not pressure yourself to settle in immediately.

If you are thinking about gaining an education abroad, you should consider joining  Berlin School of Business Innovation. Apart from offering a wide variety of courses, the university is set in Berlin, a city that can offer you a great social life and hundreds of restaurants and social spots where you can hang out with your college friends. To find out more about the courses at BSBI, click here.

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