Bridge over a pondAnyone can feel homesick, whether you are thousands of miles from home, or an hour from home. It is common to experience some feelings of homesickness during your time at university, especially (but not only) at the start of your degree, when the change is greatest.

What is homesickness?

  • Preoccupation with home-focused thoughts
  • Missing what is familiar and secure

If you are homesick, you may feel overwhelmed, vulnerable, or disconnected. Signs include tearfulness, headaches, changes in appetite, and a lack energy or concentration.

What can help?

What can help?

Talk to someone

Friends may well be feeling the same as you, and may be able to comfort, encourage or distract you. You can also talk with your tutor, warden, one of Imperial’s chaplains or counsellors, or talk to another student by calling Nightline.

Keep in good contact with friends or family at home

If you can, arrange regular phone calls, Skype chats, or set up a WhatsApp group. You could even arrange a visit home, or for friends or family to visit you, later on in the term. However, be sure to also give yourself time to settle into and get involved in university life. It is important to give yourself time to adjust to the change.

Accept that it is OK to feel sad or homesick

Don’t blame yourself or see homesickness as a sign of weakness. You are not alone – many students get homesick.

Be realistic about what to expect from student life, and from yourself

University might not be everything you imagined it to be straight away. Give it time, and look after yourself, despite the pressured workload. Establish a balance between work and leisure, and try to get enough sleep, to eat well and to exercise.

Make friends through shared activities

It may feel tempting to stay in your room, but it is important to get out there and meet people. Plan things in your day that you can look forward to.  

A great way to make new friends and overcome homesickness is to get involved with some of the 300 clubs, societies and projects supported by Imperial College Union.  

Explore London

It can help to get familiar with your surroundings, and also to keep busy and discover all that London offers. Here are some great ideas to get you started.

Decorate your room

Make your room feel like a home from home by bringing along items that are familiar and comforting.

If you are having problems with your course and the transition from school to university, don’t suffer in silence. Speak with your Personal Tutor as soon as possible and they will help you. There is no shame in asking for help. You can also visit the Imperial Success Guide for lots of great study skills advice.

Further information and advice