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Dealing with homesickness

By UALHalls 24 Apr 2023

Homesickness is one of those universal experiences that is a very valid part of growing up. Everyone thinks they’ll be immune to it.

You set off to your new city full of courage and optimism then BOOM. It hits you like a ton of bricks.

It could hit you immediately when the plane lands or sometimes it can hit you a year into your new life when you're waiting in a queue to pay for your food shopping.

For some people the homesickness might be constant, for some it might be a mild ache that only occurs when you’ve had a rough day.

Homesickness may be inevitable, but there are 3 things that I have found helpful to minimise homesickness as an international student at UAL.

1. Make new social connections! 🫂

One of the best things you can do when you’re feeling home sick is to stay busy and nurture your social connections in your new city. Luckily, London is one of the best places in the world to meet people.

One of the easiest ways to meet friends at UAL is through your course. These are the people you will see every day, ask for help on assignments and they will be with you for the duration of your course.

That being said, there are many other ways to meet people at UAL. One thing I did as a new student coming from Canada was to make sure to subscribe to all of the UAL email newsletters. These included the Postgraduate Newsletter, Interest Groups and Arts SU for information about upcoming social events, clubs, and academic opportunities to meet students from other colleges.

If you're in one of the UAL Halls, UAL HallsLife is a great way to keep busy in your hall. The student Committee members host many free events throughout the year, and it will help you make friends in your hall.

Another great thing to do is use London Facebook groups for people looking to meet new people! There are so many young people who move here without knowing anybody, so these Facebook groups are a lifesaver.

2. Decorate your new room! 🧸

It can be daunting unpacking at your new hall and realising your room is still looking a little bare. Your room is where you will spend all your down time so it’s important to try and make it feel like home.

Decorating your room doesn’t have to be expensive either! London has the best vintage markets in the world that sell secondhand decorations such as vases, prints, frames, and baskets at very low prices.

But if you don’t feel like spending any money, you could try what a lot of students at Camberwell do, and make art trades of prints, posters, paintings or drawings to each other in your course or in your college! This is a huge perk of going to an art school.

Another thing that will make your room feel cozier is bringing comfort objects from home! I wish I had done this when I came here, so whether it’s a blanket, a teddy bear or a book, make sure to squeeze it in your suitcase!

You can also check out some suggestions on how you can decorate your room.

3. Schedule your facetimes! 👩🏻‍💻

It’s important to stay in contact with friends and family, but calling too often could actually make your homesickness worse, and make it harder to adjust.

If you set out a specific time in your week to call your friends and family it gives you something to look forward to, instead of it being something you need every day to feel okay in your new city.

It is also important to schedule facetimes especially if you are an international student, because those time differences can make it difficult to get a response last minute.

I find that having long facetimes on the weekends with friends and family from home is the perfect amount of time, and you get to discuss all your exciting updates that happened throughout the week!

Remember that if you're struggling, you can always speak to your Hall Committee members. Get in contact by emailing (please reference your hall in the subject line). 

Please be reassured that everything you discuss will be dealt with confidentially and sensitively.