Leaving home and starting something new, especially for the first time, can be a daunting experience and leave you feeling unsettled.  Remember that it is normal to miss family and friends at home when in a new environment, and feeling homesick is very common. 

Homesick It may have come as a surprise to you that you are feeling homesick, especially if starting university is something you have looked forward to for a long time. 

You’ll probably have lots of mixed emotions, but don’t panic that these feelings are a sign that you cannot cope or that you have made the wrong decision.   Give yourself a bit of time.  This is a period of transition, so be kind to yourself and allow yourself the opportunity to adjust to this new stage of your life.

Sometimes when you’re feeling homesick it’s easy to believe that you are the only one who is struggling. Try to remember that other students will also find settling into university life challenging and you are not alone in feeling this way.

Home sickness can often 'hit' at unexpected times, not just at the beginning of the academic year. It may be after the first few weeks when the initial excitement of starting university has passed, or in January when you return to campus after the Christmas break, having spent time with family and friends back home.

Take Care

There are lots of things you can do to help yourself feel more settled in your new home. Why not start small, find out what works for you and gradually build your confidence.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Personalise your space: bring a few things that make your room feel more homely.
  • Invest in a doorstop: try propping your bedroom door open for a while each day, so you can get to meet your new flatmates – they may be feeling a bit homesick and lonely too!
  • Explore the campus: becoming familiar with where you are living and studying can help you feel more confident.  You and your new flatmates may want to do this together.
  • Prepare a homecooked meal: although you’re not eating with your family, you can still enjoy a family favourite. Bring some best-loved recipes from home.
  • Join some of the clubs and activities through the Students’ Union - although at first you may not feel like it, meeting some likeminded people can add to a sense of belonging.
  • Plan a film night with your flatmates: start a list of movies that you’d like to watch and get your flatmates to add their ideas too. Then pick an evening and get some popcorn.

Homesickness is very real and can make you feel isolated and anxious. It is much more common than you might think though, and help and support is available:

  • The Student Support and Wellbeing Service run “Fancy a Cuppa” twice a week in firstpoint.  It is a great opportunity to meet fellow students from all years and academic courses and expand your social circle beyond your studies and your flat.  Friendly support staff are there to listen and answer questions in an informal setting – it’s an opportunity to connect with them on a more personal level.  See the Fancy a Cuppa webpage for more details.
  • If homesickness is having a serious impact on your health and your studies, the University’s Counselling Service is available for you to access via a STAR appointment.  You can book through firstpoint or using the online STAR calendar.