Leaving your home, friends and family can be a very challenging and distressing experience for many students embarking on the adventure to study in a foreign country or a new town. This can be especially true for students such as myself, who have no prior experience in living alone and who have lived in one city their whole life. However, there are a variety of steps to be taken which can help you to adapt more rapidly to your new environment and gradually overcome homesickness.
From my personal experience, the best approach one can take in order to overcome homesickness is to engage with different activities that allow you to explore your new surroundings. By keeping your mind busy, you gradually get accustomed to the dynamics of your new life, we start feeling more secure and with time develop a sense of belonging to your new environment, which is essential in overcoming homesickness. Here are some points which have proven successful in fulfilling the above mentioned objectives and have assisted me and my friends in overcoming homesickness.
Get To Know More About Your Course
My first piece of advice would be to focus on learning as much as possible about the course you will be studying for the next few years. As you have chosen a course you are really passionate about and want to excel in, there is no better way to overcome homesickness than to explore thoroughly what your future responsibilities will be, how your course will be structured, what range of issues will be covered during the academic year and what types of assessments you’ll have.
Getting more clarity about the specific program which made you take the decision to leave home in the first place will help you to see that in spite of the difficulties associated with missing your home, relatives and friends, everything is worth it: you are fulfilling your dream of studying things you are really interested in, and learning new exciting insights that would be helpful for your future development.
Make New Friends
Getting the most out your first year means being friendly and open to your classmates and to try and make as many friends as possible. Even if you are a shy and quiet person, you will overcome homesickness and adapt more rapidly if you make good friends with the people you share your university experience with. You can start making friends by getting to know your classmates, as you study the same subject, there are probably many more things you have in common and that can be the beginning of great friendships!
Having friends from your course means you can help each other with your studies and offers you a support network during stressful times like exam periods. And if you are shy, once you’ve made friends with your course mates it becomes a lot easier to make friends with people in your accommodation.
Join Different Societies and Extra-Curricular Activities
One of the best ways to overcome homesickness is to devote your free time to things you are really interested in and that make you feel happy and productive in your new environment. Fortunately, London’s universities and the city as a whole offer a variety of different societies and extra-curricular activities one can join where they can try out new hobbies, hone new skills or talents, or better your already existing ones.
Joining different societies and engaging with extra-curricular activities permits you to tailor your free time in a fun and exciting way by engaging with the things you are really passionate about which can have a very positive effect on overcoming homesickness. Whether your life goal is becoming a diplomat and that inspires you to take part of your university’s diplomacy society where you can visit different embassies and discuss the most important international affairs that concern you with your peers, or you are interested in fencing and would like to test your abilities, there is a society for you. Whats best of all is that through participating in such activities you will meet many like-minded individuals and make new friends, which as we already established is vital for overcoming homesickness!
Discover Your Area and the Best of London
Getting to know your surroundings helps you get used to your new way of life which helps in overcoming homesickness. You can start off by finding out what are the best landmarks, café’s and restaurants near your accommodation and university campus. It is really important that you get to know where you buy your favourite things that help make you more comfortable and create a cosy atmosphere in your room that can make you feel a little more like being at home. In addition, by finding the places close to your accommodation where you can continue your routines from home like going to gym, or finding a nice café where you can enjoy your favourite drink while doing course readings, you start feeling more confident and happy and develop a sense of belonging to your new environment which is helpful in making you miss home a little less.
London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and undoubtedly has to offer everyone something to their liking and help them overcome homesickness. For fans of plays and musicals, London’s West End has a variety of very good spectacles which are worth watching and you may even be able to see some of your favourite actors perform. Also, there a lot of art galleries and museums for the those interested in the arts and history. For those loving to read such as myself, there are awesome bookstores such as Waterstones and Daunt Books. Finally, for those who enjoy tasting different cuisines there is no better city than London where you can find dishes from all over the world. Even though you would still miss your home and family, through exploring your area and London in your free time you will see many exiting new things, you will be able to make new friends and you will start adapting, and before you know it, it will be time for you to go back home and see those you missed the most.
This is a guest post from urbanest Resident Yana. For more information on dealing with homesickness, click here.