Feeling the twinge of homesickness when you’re away from home is never any fun and can really make your transition to college life all the more difficult. Unfortunately it’s incredibly common amongst students (even those an hour away from home) and if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, chances are you won’t be alone.
Homesickness can be as simple as missing home cooking or wishing for the warmer weather you may be used to at home (!) but for some students it can become a real burden of loneliness that impacts their studies and stops them enjoying the student experience to the full.
If you’re planning to study at New College Manchester or you’re currently a student in Manchester, don’t let worries about homesickness hamper such an exciting period of your life! There’s so many effective methods you can use to feel closer to your home and loved ones even if you’re thousands of miles away.
In order to make the leap easier to bear, we’ve compiled our favourite tips from students who have braved homesickness and come out happy on the other side. We know it can be tough, but it is possible to manage your homesickness and make Manchester your second home!
Standing in your new room with a mountains worth of baggage can be incredibly daunting, as any new student will tell you. This is the moment when you realise you’re in a strange new place which will be your retreat for the foreseeable future. But before you panic at the bare walls and unfamiliar surroundings, make your bed.
You’ve probably been told to make your bed since you were old enough to sleep in one, but in this case it’s a really useful exercise – promise! Making your bed as your first stamp of individuality in your room can instantly bring a room to life and transform it from a blank canvas to a space that’s all yours.
Simple things such as bringing a lamp or your favourite poster can help instantly add those homely touches to your new home and propping open your door and strategically placing a nice big box of biscuits in full site is widely known to be a great way to attract new housemates for a chat! You may want to put pictures of your family and friends on every available surface (use white tack for walls to avoid any marks) to help with homesickness. Alternatively some people like to keep photos in a separate album so they aren’t constantly reminded of the people they miss.
The great things about studying an English course is that you meet so many people from all over the world who are all far from home. Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend will help you see that everyone feels the same way and can lift any feelings of isolation you may be experiencing.
‘Getting out there’ and socialising with other students is the best way to create your own support network while you’re away from home and at New College Manchester there’s a range of different activities on offer to help students appreciate the vibrancy of Manchester, make new friends and ultimately settle in. From day trips to football and film nights, we try to offer something for everyone so you can meet people with the same passions as you.
You will usually find that your course mates are interested in your home country and culture, so many international students love impressing (or at least trying to impress!) their friends with an authentic meal from their country. If you really can’t cook, learning before you leave home is a tip many students will tell you makes a big difference to how you feel! Re creating a favourite family meal is really comforting when you’re feeling low and food is always automatically better when shared with friends!
Some people find that speaking to their families every day really helps ease their homesickness, whereas others find too much contact with their loved ones can make it worse. The trick is to find what works for you, there’s no hard and fast rule. Ensuring everyone has skype installed before you go can help you put your mind at ease though, even if you don’t plan to speak every day.
Planning a trip home can really help homesickness but many colleges and universities recommend that students don’t book a trip home to early in their course as this can make it difficult to settle in. A great alternative can be to arrange a trip for your family or friends to visit you in your new home.
Things are never easy when you’re feeling down, but many students find that their homesickness disappears after a few weeks and many come to relish their independance! If things don’t go smoothly right away, it’s important to give yourself time to get used to your new surroundings but don’t hesitate to speak to your tutor if you’re feeling unhappy. College staff are well aware that students don’t always settle in right away and will always be happy to help with any worries you might have,
Moving away from home can be difficult, but most students soon start to enjoy their new home once they make friends and settle in, in fact, many can’t imagine living anywhere else once they begin to love the city!