9 ways to deal with homesickness at university

By on November 10th, 2023



You are slowly starting to settle into university life. You have your own space and the taste of freedom. However, between settling in with flatmates, getting to know your new friends and adjusting to your university timetable, you are on an emotional rollercoaster and may begin to miss home. To help guide you through, this week’s blog features our top tips to deal with homesickness.

Call/facetime your friends and family

Now that the welcome events and fresher’s weeks are out of the way, university life and reality will slowly sink in. Don’t forget, it is totally normal to feel homesick at some stage of your university experience. Your other friends who’ve branched off to different universities might be feeling the same way. Make sure to keep in touch with them, whether it’s by phone or text. It’s a good idea to set up group chats with your family and your school friends. That way everyone can share updates and stay connected.

Get out and about

Get to know your new surroundings and make your university city home away from home. Homesickness is often to do with missing familiar surroundings, so create yourself your new normal environment. Familiarise yourself with the nearest shops, hotspots and activities to keep busy during your spare time.

Ask for help

Becoming independent and studying at the same time is a huge challenge, especially if it is your first year of university or the first time you have lived away from home. It’s completely understandable to be feeling a little anxious and strange in your new surroundings and routine.

If you are feeling like this, and feeling like you can’t cope, it’s important to know that help is available. If you have any course or learning concerns, speak with your lecturers. Should you have any problems with your accommodation, Downing Students’ staff are on hand 24/7 for anything you may need.

Hang out in communal areas

If you are feeling a little lonely during your time at university, you might naturally find yourself spending a lot of time in your room. Alone time is great every now and again but make the most of your residence’s social spaces. For example, all Downing Students’ properties have the best social spaces. Perfect for you to enjoy downtime in and even better, get to know you neighbours who more than likely will be feeling the same, especially in the run up to the festive season.


Top tips for international students

Although many students experience homesickness, it can be even harder for international students. The prospect of studying abroad is exciting, but cultural differences and even a change in climate can leave you second-guessing. Especially as the festive period approaches.

Find your community

Try doing activities that interest you and allow you to meet other people. For example, university societies, local clubs or your resident social groups. This will help you gather and socialise with people who you have a common connection and will share experiences with you.

Find your nearest international supermarkets

Many UK cities have international supermarkets that sell food and drink you may miss from home. Likewise for restaurants and street food. The festive period is perfect to experience a range of new cultures, with Christmas markets gracing almost all UK cities.

Share your culture with flatmates

The UK is home to a wonderful blend of cultures, and university is the chance to share yours with your flatmates. Cooking a meal, taking them to authentic restaurants or sharing stories can give your peers an insight into your culture. Plus, it’ll help you get to know each other better.

Join in your resident events

The bonus of university life is that there is always something fun going on. For example, The Railyard host regular monthly events, so you will never catch yourself bored! Whether that is key holidays such as Christmas, Diwali, Halloween, or simply free gestures. Make the most of all these free experiences available to you.

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