Feeling homesick when studying abroad

Students on campus at Lancaster University

Arriving at Lancaster University International Study Centre is the start of a new journey in your life and you are bound to feel excited. But alongside the eagerness to start this new chapter, you may be feeling conflicted about leaving your home country. Being homesick is a completely normal feeling for all university students – domestic and international – so you should never feel ashamed about how you feel.

To help you adjust, we have compiled a list of useful advice which may help you settle in to your new home.

Explore your new home

If you’re feeling homesick, the best thing you can do is get out and explore. By sitting in your room, you are missing out on experiencing all the positive things that studying abroad has to offer.

If you’re living on campus at Lancaster, take some time to explore your surroundings. Whether it’s treating yourself to a coffee in Alexandria Square or getting to know where your classrooms will be, the fresh air and new surroundings are sure to make you feel more at home.

Decorate your room

After you’ve explored more of your surroundings and discovered that there’s a world outside your window, you can return to your room with a new outlook. Decorate your room with pictures and mementos from home, but mix things up by including things from your new country. Take a trip into Lancaster town centre to shop for new decorations. Decorating your room also works as a great way to show your personality to your new friends.

Try the local food

What better way to embrace your new home than to try the local cuisine? England is most famous for fish and chips – a dish which includes fried battered fish and hot potato chips. There will be lots of places to try this dish in Lancaster, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to find Lancaster’s best fish and chip shop before you graduate!

You can also try a Lancashire hotpot – a meal specific to Lancashire itself. This is a stew made of meat, potato and onions, and is sure to be a comfort on British winter nights.

Meet your neighbours

If you’re feeling homesick when studying abroad, there’s a good chance that other students are feeling the same way. Make an effort to speak with your roommates and classmates. Get to know one another better, or simply play a game or watch a movie. You can use this experience to learn more about other cultures or even practise your English skills. You might also like to find someone you can talk to in your native language – the University has clubs and societies for many different nationalities and cultures.

Call back home

Most importantly, remember that studying abroad does not mean you can’t speak to your friends and family back home. With advancements in technology, you can keep updated with your home country over social media, texting, phone calls and even video calls. You may even want to write a handwritten letter or create a care package full of your favourite British things and send them back home.

Remember you're not alone

As challenging as you may find the idea of homesickness, it is important to remember that you are not the first student to go through this. We spoke to some international students who are already settled in the UK to find out how they coped with some of the challenges of studying abroad - including homesickness.

To find out more about arriving to study abroad in the UK, read our information on improving your English and Lancaster top tips.