7 Ways to Keep Homesickness at Bay – By Ashlyn Voorhout

“I just want to be back home” is something you could be thinking in your first few weeks of university, but not to worry we’ve all been there or will be there at some stage. Like many first year students, last year was also my first year away from home, I am a 16 hour flight away and have no nearby family but never the less I found ways to persevere.

So not to worry because as difficult as it may be, you can use these 7 tips to survive and thrive!

1. Family First

The toughest part about a university for many is being away from family whether it is 2 hours, 16 hours or 30 minutes not having your family around can be tough. Therefore, my first coping mechanism I can recommend is a family Whatsapp chat where you can easily communicate with each other. You can share what you’ve done in the day, find out about their day or even simply say hello. Knowing you have a form of communication can make you feel like you are all together and aid you in not feeling left out.

2. Explore

 
The biggest mistake made by many students when homesick is locking them self away and hiding from people and the outside world. One way to keep away homesickness is exploring the new area you are living in, getting out and adventuring! Whiles doing this you may meet people who feel the same as you or even find a restaurant, shop or building that reminds you of home.

3. Speak up

 

Talk! The most important thing to do while homesick is to talk to someone. It may be a friend, lab partner or one of us First Seven Weeks peeps. When you express how you feel you will find others are in the same boat and feel just as lonely as you do. Together, you will be able to communicate and share your feelings with one another. Essentially you will be helping each other through tough times and building new relationships at the same time.

4. Set goals

 

It may sound cliche but setting yourself a goal to work towards, whether it be to run 5km, meet one new person a day, read a book or simply learn to cook a new dish. By setting yourself a new goal you will place your mind elsewhere instead of home. You will be keeping busy and distracting yourself from the feeling of loneliness and missing home.

5. Bring home comforts

 

Moving to university means a new room and a new location! This can be daunting and make you feel even more homesick. For example, I have a favourite food from South Africa called rusks which I can’t find in Ireland so I decided to bring some with me to university. If you bring along your favourite pillow, fairy lights, posters or medals it will make your new room feel more like home. Even if you bring your favourite coffee mug or biscuits it can prevent you from feeling homesick and aid you in feeling more at ease.

6. Join clubs and societies

 

Hands down the greatest thing I’ve done since being at university is joining a number of different clubs and societies. Through joining I’ve met new people (including my best friend), seen new places and most importantly haven’t thought about home as much as I did before. The clubs and their members become your family and make being away from home 10 times easier.

7. Focus on the positives

My final piece of advice is to focus on the positives whiles being away. View your university experience as a way of becoming more open-minded, cultured and even mature. Every day think of one good thing about your day and how it changed you as a person. Instead of focusing on being away from home and your homesickness focus on how you can grow and develop as a new person with a new start.

And that is my 7 tips on how to deal with homesickness!

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