So you’re moving to a new house, a new city – maybe even a new country – to start your new life as a student. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time – we know, we’ve been there! So, what can you do to avoid getting homesick and make the most of your time away?
Visit the city as a tourist first
Get to know your new home before jumping in at the deep end. Whether you take a weekend trip or just arrive in your new city a week early, it’s good to have the chance to take in your surroundings without having to worry about where you’re supposed to be or what time your lessons start. Taking a few days to explore at your own pace will mean you’re ready to jump straight in when term starts.
Stay connected with family and friends
Sending letters and gifts back home is a great way of staying in touch with your loved ones – and having post arrive for you in return is not only exciting, but helps your new city feel like a home. While you need to be careful not to spend hours every day on the phone or Skype, a regular letter or email that keeps everyone updated on your new life is a great way of feeling connected, even when you’re miles away.
Immerse yourself in local culture
Local food, festivals, events, music – it’s all waiting for you to discover it! Take the opportunity of being in a completely new place to find things you’d never get the chance to enjoy at home. Not only will this make you feel more connected with your new home, but it could leave you with a life-long interest you never would have had if it wasn’t for your time away at university.
Make a list of things you want to see and do in your new home
This not only gives you something to focus on, but it also gets you excited about moving and living somewhere new. Look at nearby cities, possible trips you could take and landmarks you want to see while you’re there, and get it all written down to look at whenever you feel nervous about moving.
You could even invite some friends from home on one of the trips, meaning you get a little home comfort when they come to visit, and your time spent talking to them is focused on planning the trip rather than talking about things you miss from home.
Get into a routine
This one’s crucial! When you’re feeling down, nothing’s worse than not knowing where you’re supposed to be or what you’re supposed to be doing. Get yourself into a routine as soon as possible – even if it’s just what time you get up and when you eat dinner. If you ever feel a little lost, having a routine to rely on can really help you feel more at home.
Take up a new hobby
Learning something new will not only keep you active, but will also give you something to focus on. Filling your time with interesting and exciting activities is a certain way to avoid having slow days that could make you feel homesick – and new hobbies can also lead to new friends, helping you create a support network in your adopted home.
Take lots of photos of your new home
Looking at your new surroundings through a camera lens can give you a different perspective, helping you to appreciate the interesting and beautiful things around you. On top of that, sharing these photos with friends and family back home and talking to them about your favourite places is sure to renew your excitement for your adopted city. You could even start a blog to keep people updated while you’re away – showing off your new city will always make you appreciate it more!
Make your house feel like a home
Just because you’ve moved away doesn’t mean everything has to be completely different. Reminders of home, whether it’s pictures of your friends and family, comfort food or posters you’ve brought with you are a great way of making yourself feel settled. If you’ve moved to a new country, watching TV shows or listening to music from your own country is a nice way of feeling connected while your away. It’s okay to surround yourself with things you enjoy from home sometimes – moving doesn’t mean you have to cut yourself off completely!
Don’t bottle it up
If you’re feeling homesick, don’t bottle it up and pretend you’re fine – that’s won’t help you feel better! Talking to someone about how you’re feeling, whether it’s fellow students, counselors from the university or even friends and family from home, can put your worries into perspective and help you to feel better. And remember, you’re not the only one that feels like that! It’s likely most students moving away from home have felt homesick at one point or another, it’s normal and it won’t last forever.
Explore your new surroundings!
One of the best things about moving away from home is the opportunity to explore so many new places. From the shops on your street to the towns and villages – or even countries – that are just a short trip away, the more you get to know the area the more at home you’ll feel. You’ll never feel more like a resident of your new city than when a tourist asks you for directions and you know the way!