We recognise the additional challenges that International and EU students’ face when moving to the UK and in particular the challenges of coping with homesickness …
For many students, coming to university is the first time you have lived far away from home, which is why feelings of homesickness can often creep in. On some occasions you will be reminded of home whilst staying at Cardiff, so even though most students experience homesickness in the beginning of their settlement in university, it is still normal to experience those feelings from time to time later on as well.
Here are some tips that can help you cope with homesickness:
1. Stay in touch
Keeping contact with friends and family is essential when keeping that connection with home. You can use Skype, Facebook messenger or any other social media tool that allows you to text, talk or video chat. Think about people who love you and care for you and try to arrange a time that suits both sides in order to communicate with them. Exchange photos of your environments and organise a lot of video calls with your family and friends to feel a little bit closer to them.
2. Talk to people
Don’t forget that there are so many other students that have experienced a similar transition and may feel the same way as you do! Share how you feel with your friends or course mates and find out if they have experienced homesickness before and how they have dealt with it. GPs, Student Support Staff, Tutors and Chaplains are also there for you if you want to talk. Don’t be afraid to voice your worries before the problem grows!
3. Keep an open mind
Sometimes when we miss something we idealise it and just ignore everything else that is out there. Don’t fall into thinking that the place that you are currently is not good just because it is not your home! Why not get involved with some of the events happening in Global Week? You can find out more about what’s on in our blog on Global Week events. Cardiff is also a wonderful city that offers great places to go to and things to do.
4. Plan your time here
Leaving yourself too much time to over think things and agonise even more is not a great way of spending your time at university. Keeping an open mind, make plans so that you have a clear idea of what you are going to be doing or the places you are going to visit, is a great way to keep your mind off homesickness. Make use of your free of time, as a varied routine will keep your motivation up.
5. Look after yourself
Getting some time to relax and wind down after a hectic day is always beneficial for your wellbeing. You can get some ideas on using mindfulness apps for your relaxation from our blog on relaxation. You can also spend some quality time with yourself by having your favourite meal, watching a TV series you like, or decorating your room. It may be useful to try and do similar activities like sports or hobbies that you used to do back at home as well. You can have a look at the list of societies at the Students’ Union to get some ideas!
6. Make yourself at home
Think about the things that make you feel comfortable and get that ‘homely’ feel in the house! Buy things for the house like flowers or pillows that you can place on the sofas to make them comfier. It can even be certain scents, colours or music that remind you of home, that can make a big difference of how you experience the place you are staying in. Ask your family and friends about things you could do that would be similar to what you would do at home, like cooking something in particular or decorating in certain way.
7. Remind yourself
Remember all of those reasons that made you come to Cardiff University. Remind yourself of why you are going through this and perhaps how proud you are going to make all of the people you love. Be aware of the personal achievement that you are making by living on your own and managing all your responsibilities. Appreciate all of those things and soon you will start seeing more positive aspects of staying away from home!
If you would like to know more, there is more useful information on homesickness on our intranet pages.
Contact us in Counselling, Health and Wellbeing
If you are experiencing any kind of emotional distress, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. The Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service can offer support to anybody experiencing any sort of difficulty, however big or small.
We offer booked appointments via our online referral questionnaire, in which our friendly, approachable staff can offer you non-judgemental support in a safe and confidential space. We also offer a daily Wellbeing Walk-In Service (3pm-3.45pm: Monday–Friday and Wednesday mornings: 9.30am-10.15am at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place; and Wednesday afternoons 3pm-3.45pm at Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus).
If you are worried that you are experiencing physical symptoms that may be affecting your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this. If you do not already have a GP, please contact NHS Wales on 0845 46 47 or check out their website to view all of your GP options. The University also has its own GP Practice – Park Place Surgery for those in their catchment area.
Your feedback and help please
Have you found this blog post useful? Please help us by commenting in the comments bar below, and if there is anything further you’d like to know ask your questions there too.
We’d also be grateful if you can share this information by re-tweeting or sharing with your fellow students who may find this useful – you can do this by using the share buttons or via twitter and facebook.
Tsvetina, Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Placement Student.
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice and Money, Careers and Employability, Counselling, Health and Wellbeing, Disability and Dyslexia and International Student Support. The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.