How to deal with homesickness at university

Feeling homesick after arriving at Surrey? Here's what you can do.

International students sit on lawn at University of Surrey

First of all, try to remember that feeling homesick in your first few weeks is totally normal. You are in a different country, possibly speaking a different language, and away from family and friends. Try not to worry. You can use homesickness as a reason to try new experiences and meet people.

Explore

Stay busy and distract yourself by making the most of your new home and living in the U.K. Getting outside, even for a little bit, will make you feel better than staying in your room. Take a look around the local area, or go on a weekend trip – there are loads of great places you can easily get to from Surrey. It is easy to forget how much of a difference exercise can make to your mood. If you are not particularly sporty, look up the best places to walk nearby instead.

Reach out

At the International Study Centre, there are lots of opportunities to speak to people like you. Everyone else has come from another country, and they will be feeling the same as you.

Why not cook some food from your home country? It will be comforting to you to eat familiar food, and it is a great, relaxed way to get to know new people. Like you, students who choose to go abroad are normally open to learning about other cultures.

Join in

There are more than 300 clubs and societies at Surrey University. Most nationalities are represented, if you would like to find other people from your home country. Why not continue a sport you loved to play at home, or try out new hobbies? Take the opportunity to try a traditional British sport that you wouldn’t play at home.

Be kind to yourself

  • Accept how you are feeling, but know that it won’t be forever. Speak to the people around you; some of them are probably feeling the same.
  • Try to see the positives in homesickness. It reminds you how grateful you are for the things in your life, and also teaches you to be independent.
  • Try not to call home too much. It feels like the obvious thing to do, but it may mean that you’re missing out on bonding with the people around you and being in the present. You can look forward to speaking to friends and family at home - but you will soon have friends here too.
  • Give yourself time to adjust, and look after yourself. If you are still not feeling yourself after a few months, speak to someone at the International Study Centre. We can help.

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