Leaving home to start your journey at university brings with it a variety of emotions. Excitement, nervousness, fear, self-doubt and happiness.
As the semester progresses and you’ve left home behind, you may begin to notice a strange sadness. A little while longer and you realize you long for home. This is completely normal. Home is for many safety, comfort and the place you may have created your first memories that bring a smile to your face when your thoughts wonder.
Pin pointing that we feel homesick may not be obvious either. You may be feeling irritable, feel like an outsider despite having made friends and restless sleep that you do not think is caused by deadlines or other factors are some signs.
How can you manage homesickness?
First, you want to recognize that homesickness can sometimes be considered grief. You may be grieving for your home, your people, your culture and your previous life to your move. It is important to understand the underlying entities of your emotions. When someone you know is grieving, what do you do? You’re there for them. You treat yourself the way you treat others. Care for yourself. Recognizing you need to pour love into yourself is the first step.
Second are my Top 5 Tips!
- Community: Call those you consider home as often as you can. You are not a burden. It is not weakness. They want to support and hear from you. A 1-2 hour phone call will not make you fail. Spending time with loved ones is a form of stress relief and can help put you back into study mode.
- Cook home food! You may not be great at first, but you’ll get better. I did (don’t tell my roommates I burnt the mits, haha). World Wide Cash and Carry in Rusholme and the International Market at Arndale can help you find many of your ingredients. If you’re from the Caribbean, you can get green seasoning on Amazon. You’re welcome. You can freeze it and leave it for sad days as comfort food.
- Immerse yourself in your culture. Teach your friends about your culture, play local music while you do chores and read literature from your home. All of these can help you feel connected.
- If you manage to get home for the Christmas break: stock up on snacks and bring a token from home. I’ve brought my stuffed cat Kitty who I’ve had since I was 5.
- Seek your culture: You can find most cultures here in Manchester, through the International Society or just a google search for events. Embassies are a great way to find these events. I’m part Indo-Caribbean so I visit the curry mile for food and I’ve been to a Caribbean party in London, where I got to dance to local music.
Homesickness is normal and there are tons of things you can do beside the above. I hope this helps someone!