Feeling homesick at university: what can I do?

Being at university can be a busy and exciting experience. You’re in a new environment, meeting so many people and getting stuck into a degree that you love (at least sometimes). However, if you ever feel homesick while at university, you’re not alone. Many other students will feel the same way at some point during their studies. You might miss your family, friends, or pets, or perhaps long to be in a more familiar environment. The feeling is completely natural – for many people, this is their first time away from home for an extended period, and even if it isn’t, there are still many challenges associated with this. Feeling homesick isn’t limited to first year, or to those who are further away from home than others. It’s completely okay for anyone to feel homesick, just as it is also okay not to miss home – everyone responds to moving to university differently. However, because homesickness is so common a problem, students have developed a variety of coping mechanisms, some of which they have kindly shared with The Bubble. Here are some ways to battle homesickness, created by students for their fellow homesickness sufferers:


Do things that bring you comfort

One major theme amongst student responses was allowing yourself to find comfort in times of need. This could be in the form of a favourite food, book, television show, or film, for example. Grabbing a snack, a blanket and your comfort book, film, or show will help to raise your mood and make you feel a bit more relaxed. Whatever works for you, don’t be afraid to do it – allowing yourself to do and have things that make you happy will significantly improve your quality of life at university and help to get you through those difficult periods of homesickness.


Keep in touch

It’s also a nice idea to have your family and friends visit you if possible, or going home for a weekend if you’d prefer – having a couple of days to recharge with people you care about can work wonders for your energy levels and happiness. Planning these in advance is a good way to make sure you get that quality time in and gives you something to look forward to when you’re in a rough patch.

Don’t worry if this isn’t viable for you, though. While you may feel that a phone call can’t replace the feeling of being amongst family and friends, it can really help if you’re feeling down. If you’re missing your loved ones, speaking to them via phone call, text, or perhaps even sending them a stupid meme on Instagram helps you feel a little more connected and a little less alone. You could set aside a period of time each week for a catch up, or have a spontaneous one if you’d prefer. You could even write people letters or send them postcards if that’s something you’d enjoy!


Personalise your room

Your bedroom is one of the most major parts of your new home. Not only is it a space for sleep, but it can also become a place for socialising, working, relaxing, and more. As such, it’s important that you feel comfortable in this space. There are loads of ways to do this, and here are some ideas:

  • Photos (maybe of family, friends, pets, favourite places – you can add to these over your time at university too!)
  • Posters (of your favourite books, films, bands – whatever you love)
  • Fairy lights or candles if you’re allowed them
  • Houseplants
  • Nice bedding
  • Blankets, cushions and soft toys – while they might seem a bit of a hassle to take to university with you, you’ll appreciate the extra comfort later
  • Other reminders of home (maybe something that has a certain smell, or a souvenir from a holiday, or a card from a friend – whatever reminds you of home and makes you happy, bring it!)

The importance of making your room your own can’t be overstated. You want your room to represent you and reflect your personality, and most importantly for you to be comfortable in it. You can bring elements of your own culture in too if this will make you feel happier – anything to make you feel like you have a little bit of home with you will help everything to seem more settled and will combat any feelings of homesickness you might experience.


Get stuck in

Something you might miss about home is the feeling of familiarity; sometimes, a good way to deal with this feeling is to become more familiar with your new surroundings! Try taking some time to look around your new college, residential area, and Durham city centre. Over time, you might discover some new favourite spots that make Durham feel more like home – perhaps a walking trail, coffee shop or a space in college like your common room or bar. Over the years you’ll build up a knowledge of where you are, just like you would at home. It might take a little time for you to get used to your surroundings, but that’s okay – give yourself time to adjust.

Getting involved with different societies can also help to battle homesickness. You’ll meet new people and have the chance to take part in a well-loved hobby, or perhaps discover a completely new one! Having something you enjoy and look forward to doing can help you to feel settled at university. The feeling of unfamiliarity might be uncomfortable at first, but stick with it. However, don’t feel that you have to be doing something all the time, and don’t feel bad if you don’t want to throw yourself in at the deep end. Everybody will react differently to feeling homesick, and each response is completely valid.


These are just a few small ways in which you can try to battle homesickness while you’re at university. The most important thing to remember is that it’s okay to feel homesick, and you shouldn’t feel silly for doing whatever you can to get through it. If you get homesick more often than others you know, or if your way of dealing with it is different to someone else’s, don’t worry about it! Prioritise yourself and be kind, and that will help to see you through above all else.


Featured image by Huỳnh Đạt on Pexels

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Our YouTube Channel