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The University of Southampton
Enabling ServicesPart of Student Services

Homesickness

Starting University for the first time is a big step and, even if you are returning after a break, this can be a time of great change.

For some students this is an exciting and stimulating time, while for others it is not so easy. If you are struggling, why not try our online homesickness resources which will provide useful tips, techniques and support for beating the homesickness blues.

Online Homesickness Resources

Adapting to major change in life can be unsettling, and feelings of being alone and uncertain are very common among new students who have moved away from home for the first time. When you look at your fellow new students, you can be sure that some of them are feeling less positive than they appear.

When you first move away from home, your personal support systems of friends and family may seem to disappear or become less real. Some people find this distressing.  Just understanding what is happening and thinking calmly about it can help many new students get through the first few days.

The good news is that most new students adjust and adapt quite quickly, and as they become more confident, feelings of homesickness tend to disappear after a few weeks or even days.

If you are new and finding things a bit tough, there are many things you can do.

All the University's Halls of Residence have programmes of welcoming events. The Student Life is there to help and listen. You may find that a friendly chat over tea and cake can make a big difference. Most of the teams have seen many students pass through the stage of homesickness and go on to have a happy and fulfilling time at University.

Talk about how you are feeling

If you have been struggling for a while, feel you are at a crisis point, or are even thinking about leaving the University, please talk to one of our trained advisors before you make any decisions.  They are there to advise you.  Come along to an Student Support drop-in or the First Support team will be able to help.

Make your room your own

When you first arrive, it can really help to make your room your own as soon as possible.  Bringing personal items, such as photos, cushions, or posters can be comforting, especially if they are familiar items from your room at home - it does not need to be all new stuff for your new room. Bringing bedding that you like can have a big impact on the room too, so choose something that you will enjoy coming home to. There will also be plenty of opportunities to buy posters and plants in Fresher's week. Visit the SUSU website to find out more.

Get involved in activities

Keeping busy and making friends are important. Go along to anything that interests you - you'll find others there who share your interest, so you can get chatting easily.  We appreciate that not everyone finds it easy to get to know new people or go along to new clubs, but it will be worth the effort if you can.  The evidence shows that finding at least one significant other friend while at university can make a lot of difference.

There are many possibilities for you:

  • The University of Southampton Students' Union (SUSU) is an excellent way to socialise and make friends, whether competing in a sport, broadening your experience with volunteer work, or getting involved in a society.
  • Sport and Wellbeing offer a wide array of fitness suites in locations around Southampton. Their facilities give everyone the chance to have fun and get fit while doing it.
  • The Careers and Employability Service offer excellent volunteering opportunities - a great way to build networks and develop new skills while giving something back to the community. There is so much you can do, from one-off events to long-term placements - or you could even set up your own project.
  • The Faith and Reflection Centre often arranges one-off events such as film nights. You can go along anytime for a cup of tea and a chat.
  • The various junior common room (JCR) teams in halls are there to ensure you feel welcome and have things to keep you occupied in the evenings. The JCR is a committee of students who are current or ex-residents of your hall, elected by students to perform a number of roles including responsibility for the halls sports teams and organisation of a great social calendar. There is also a JCR for students living in private rented accommodation.

Relax

Although there are many ways to meet new people and have new experiences, it is important to make time to take all this change in. Setting aside some time to relax can help you reflect on your new experiences and better understand how you are feeling. It is easy to feel pressurised into doing things, but you do not have to do anything if you don't want to. Be kind to yourself and allow things to develop at a pace you are comfortable with.

International students

Living and studying in another country is a great opportunity to learn about and experience another culture, but it can be confusing and understandably it may take time to settle in. There is a lot to get used to: the weather, the language, the food, the way of life, and how things are arranged at the University. It is not uncommon to experience culture shock with all this change and it is quite normal to feel confused, anxious and lonely at first. There is lots of support available at the University, including opportunities to learn about life in the UK and to meet new people.

  • The SUSU Advice Centre has lots of useful information about living in Southampton.
  • SUSU Communities Zone has societies that are set up and run by students for the many different international communities that study here.
  • The International Office team's webpages also have lots of information on life at Southampton, including support, religion, clubs and societies.
  • The Welcome Programme will help you settle into Southampton. We encourage all new international students to take part in as many activities as possible.
  • If you are a Winchester School of Art student, the Department for International Studies and International Student Society can provide support, as well as events you may like to attend.

Home

Many students feel that they want to go home in their first few weeks at University and it is certainly important to keep in touch with friends and family. However, for some people going home may sometimes worsen homesickness. Consider inviting your friends and family to visit you instead.

It can be helpful to talk about how you are feeling. If you find it difficult to talk to your housemates or friends, speak to one of the contacts below for advice.

If feelings of homesickness are preventing you from doing your normal activities, such as seeing friends or attending lectures, then you can come to the Student Support drop-in. At the drop-in, an advisor will listen to your problems and feelings, and suggest other sources of help and support. Alternatively, contact your personal tutor.

SUSU Nightline

Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5236

Email: nightline@susu.org

A student-run listening service available 8pm - 8am during term time.

Student Life

Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5777

Visit the Student Life webpage.

Email: studentlife@soton.ac.uk

Faith and Reflection Centre

Visit the Faith and Reflection Centre at 41 University Road any time for a chat and a cup of tea.

Faith and Reflection Centre

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