April 24, 2024 | Knowledge Bank

Homesickness: What to Do as an International Student?

Homesickness is a natural emotional response to studying abroad for an extended period surrounded by unfamiliar cultures and people. According to a study by the National Union of Students (NUS), homesickness affects around 50-70% of students during the first few months of their studies. 

Feeling homesick is not a sign of weakness, but rather a strong sense of belonging to your home. With a few activities and a change of habits, you can navigate this feeling and stay on top of your new life as an international student.

Here are a few things to do when you sense that homesick feeling crawling in:

  • Go out and explore

One of the reasons for homesickness is because of the unfamiliar feeling about the new environment you are currently in. To fight this, try going for a little walk to see what is around you! You might find some interesting places and experience new things you have never experienced at home before.

You can also visit new restaurants or cafes to explore different kinds of food in your area. Being in a new environment allows you to try new things that might enrich your experience while staying in the UK. 

The UK is full of stunning sceneries and tourist attractions that are pleasing to the eyes, waiting to be discovered. The country also has an accommodating public transport system which ensures a smooth journey for people who want to go sightseeing and explore different cities. So, get out there and take a little tour!

  • Find a new hobby

Staying busy can be one of the ways to keep your mind occupied and help with homesickness. Developing a new hobby can help with your homesickness and also boost your productivity.

For example, you can take a cooking class, a pottery class or a reading club. These kinds of activities can keep your mind engaged and who knows, maybe you will end up with a new skill that benefits you in the long run!

Moreover, starting a new hobby can make you feel less stressed on a day-to-day basis. It also trains your mind to concentrate on just one thing, which can help increase your attention span.

  • Join a student club

Adapting to a new environment will be easier when you have people to share your experiences with. One of the best ways to meet new people as an international student is by joining a student club or society. This will allow you to meet people with similar interests, goals or backgrounds who can make you feel more connected to your new environment.

Generally, a student club or society have many kinds of activities you can participate in, such as gatherings, game nights, volunteer work and many more. These activities will give you new experiences and perspectives on your new life as an international student. There are various student clubs you can join in the UK, like theatre clubs, sports clubs, music clubs, drama and performance clubs, etc. 

There are also student associations led by university students in certain regions, also known as Persatuan Pelajar Indonesia (PPI). PPI is spread across many cities in the UK, namely PPI London, PPI Bristol, PPI Exeter, PPI Greater Liverpool and many more. Besides meeting new people, joining a student club or association can improve your knowledge, communication skills, creativity and leadership. 

  • Stay in touch with your loved ones

Longing for home can be caused by the lack of communication with your loved ones. Take some of your time to call home and talk to your family or friends. Catching up after a certain amount of time can be a refreshing activity and a good way to release your homesickness. Knowing that people from home also care about you and are there for you will give you a sense of comfort and support.

Try to do this a few times a month to ensure you maintain good communication with people from home. Regular contact with your loved ones can make the distance seem less far and make you feel less isolated. 

  • Give it time

Once you have done all the steps above, relaxing and giving your homesickness time to subside will be good. After all, it is normal to miss home after spending the first few weeks in a new place with a different timezone, culture and lifestyle. Some people may overcome their homesickness quickly, while some may need more time to adjust to the new environment.

In the meantime, try to make yourself as comfortable as possible in your new place. Remember to stay focused on your responsibilities as a student and take care of your health. Your home will always be there waiting for you when you finish your studies!