You're about to move to another city to start a program at a university or college. What challenges worry you the most?

Is dealing with homesickness at the top of your list?

If so, knowing its signs can help you deal with it so you can focus on your study goals.

How Do You Know If You're Homesick?

It's good to know the signs of homesickness so you don't confuse it with depression.

The signs of homesickness are:

  • Missing home and family

  • Continuous feeling of sadness

  • Constant crying

  • Sleeping difficulties

  • Trouble focusing

  • Lack of desire to blend in with your new environment

season 1 texas GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants

Homesickness versus depression:

While homesickness can ease up in a few weeks, depression is usually connected to a longer-term sense of low mood or sadness. Depression also comes with the feeling of worthlessness and low self-esteem.

Quiz

Joy recently moved across the country to study. She's been attending all her classes in the first month, but she finds herself crying frequently over small things, feeling lonely, and calling home every day. She's most likely...

Depressed

Homesick

Anxious

Bring Comfort From Home

Bringing things from home can make your new place feel more like home.

For example, take things like:

  • A printed picture of your loved ones

  • Your favourite blanket or pillow 

  • A stuffed animal

GIF of a cat under a blanket snuggling a teddy bear

Quiz

Rashea recently moved to Chicago to study arts. She misses her parents, two younger brothers, and the family dog. She also wishes she'd brought her favorite bike with her. What could she do to give her comfort and remind her of home?

Draw a picture of her family and dog

Get a new dog

Have her dog sent to Chicago

Have her bike sent to Chicago

Make It Your Hometown

Aside from friends and family, what makes somewhere home? Having a routine, isn't it?

When you move away, you leave your routine behind and feel empty for a while until you create a new one. 

Create a sense of trust and belonging that you're missing in the new city by:

  • Finding a nice place for a walk

  • Exploring new places and attractions

  • Signing up at a gym close by

  • Finding a coffee shop to sit and do your assignments in

GIF of a cat sitting on a stool at a cafe, looking out the window

Build Your Own Social Circle

Join a book/movie clubThree people reading outside at a picnic table

Joining a club helps you find like-minded people in a group you can share opinions with and learn new perspectives from.

Do volunteer workGroup of four people who look like they're doing an activity together

By doing volunteer work, you'll learn new skills, feel valued, and make friends with other volunteers who may even be students like you.

These activities will keep you busy, connect you with others, and help you feel less homesick.

Keep Your Family And Friends Posted

Keep your family and friends in the loop about your new life.

Share new and exciting moments with them by:

  • Giving them a voice/video call

  • Posting a story on Instagram 

  • Creating a Whats app group for sharing beautiful moments

GIF of a hand holding a phone showing video of a woman talking to them

When you call your family and friends, tell them you miss them, you miss home, and you're going to visit them at the end of the semester or school year. Invite them to visit you!

By doing this, you can soothe yourself and receive support from your family and friends, even though they're far away.

Take Action

GIF of a man high fiving overlaid with the text

If you're worried you might feel homesick, try these strategies to feel better:

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This Byte has been authored by

AA

Azadeh Adibi

Instructional Designer