No matter how exciting university life can be, living away from your family and friends for extended periods of time will inevitably let homesickness catch up to you. A recent study conducted by The National Union of Students found that 50-70% of all UK students have felt homesick at some point in their university lives, especially in their first few weeks. As someone who has been through this a lot having moved location numerous times throughout my life, I would like to share my experience on some of the things I find most helpful in reducing the impact of homesickness.
Distract yourself with the best of London
As a tourist city, London’s students are extremely lucky in the sense that there are probably more events and attractions for you to take advantage of than you could possibly go to! In fact, it doesn’t even just stop at London. With the well-connected train or coach system you can even book affordable day trips to neighbouring towns or villages for a break from the city. LSE itself also holds a wide range of events from classical music performances to themed pub quizzes. Don’t waste time dwelling on homesickness – instead go out and explore!
Eat food from home
Cooking food that you’re used to eating at home with your family can be a fun way to tackle homesickness. Most supermarkets have aisles for “international” foods and introducing your flatmates to a new cuisine can be fun, and remind you of home. With such a diverse and multicultural community, you are sure to find many restaurants and supermarkets either from your home country or similar cuisines. This way you can still get a taste of home while developing a vital skill for university life, check out a wide list of food and grocery options here.
Join as many activities as you can
Keeping yourself occupied is one of the best ways of naturally helping you forget the concept of homesickness as it leaves you with no time to ponder about it. Plus, activities are a great way to broaden your social circle and some may even be useful for your CV, you don’t want to have wasted a year pondering over homesickness only to end up regretting it in the future. You only have one chance in life to have such a wide breadth of opportunities and it is truly a privilege that many others around the world don’t even have to participate in. If you’re a fresher, this is your time to take advantage of the low workload you have!
Tap into your new support system
Having the chance to talk about feelings of unhappiness with people who are sharing your experiences can be extremely helpful. Be sure to check out your university’s national and cultural student societies as it is a great way to meet others from your country in a similar position. Do make friends with home students too as they are a great asset and can help with issues that you may face in the local area and even if you find there’s a language barrier it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and use it as an opportunity to improve your English.
Make use of technology
University can be very hectic, so make time to keep up with old connections periodically. You want to stay in touch through good times and bad. Talking to a close relative or friend can instantly improve your mood, so make sure you keep in touch with your loved ones back home. Harness the power of technology, with so many video calling tools today you have ample opportunity to stay in touch – something our parents were never really able to do with “trunk calls” being so expensive and unreliable. So be sure to make the most out of this precious tool!