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What to do when homesickness strikes

Blog by Chloe Green | TuneFM team member

50-75% of people suffer from homesickness at least once in their life, but how often is it talked about?

The transition from high school to university can cause many emotions, from moving out of home to making new friends all over again. It’s understandable that students might get homesick and miss their family and friends from time to time.

Homesickness can happen unexpectedly, and even people who have lived away from home for years can find themselves emotional at the thought of home.

When might this happen?

Homesickness can be brought on by a variety of situations. It’s easy to ignore missing home during the hustle and bustle of O- Week and during the first few weeks as you focus on adjusting to university study, but homesickness can strike at the most unusual times.

What can cause homesickness:

  • Breaking the routine you had at home.
  • Quiet periods between study and socializing
  • Around special occasions like Easter, Birthdays, and Christmas.
  • During phone or video calls with friends or family.
  • When looking for new places to shop, practicing your religion, or finding a new doctor and dentist around town.
  • Even making a meal from home that doesn’t quite taste the same.

What does homesickness feel like?

Homesickness can feel different for everyone, but some common signs include:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Isolating yourself from social activities
  • Loss of appetite
  • Not wanting to leave your room to go to class or dinner
  • Feeling sad, lonely, or helpless
  • Trouble talking to people from home
  • Feeling physically sick.

Ways you can cope with feeling homesick:

Homesickness can feel overwhelming, especially when we first move to university. However, almost everyone suffers from homesickness at least once, meaning there is plenty of advice available for coping with homesickness.

It’s important first to acknowledge that you aren’t the only person to ever feel homesick, it is normal and completely okay to miss home.

Other tips and tricks for dealing with homesickness:

  • Bring a comfort item from home which you can keep in your dorm.
  • Attend a college-run study session. Study sessions run at the colleges can help you find other students from your course and make it a little easier to make friends during your first year.
  • Keep yourself busy. An active mind leaves less time for you to focus on missing home.
  • Drinking warm milky drinks which can help promote calmness.
  • Visiting home regularly – seeing your parents or friends over the year can make it easier to stay on campus during trimesters.
  • Watch a movie – group watch and house party allow us to watch movies with friends or family over the internet, allowing us to keep our connections with home stronger.
  • Create a space in your dorm to relax in that feels like home.
  • Challenge yourself by setting yourself a goal with one of your hobbies.

What students have to say about homesickness:

We asked members of the university community for their top tips for avoiding homesickness, here’s what some of them had to say.

“When I’m Homesick I like to dive into nostalgic movies and TV shows from home” – Lillyan (2nd-year student)

“I always freeze some meals when I visit home for hard days, so I can have some home cooking”- Blake (alumnus)

“Go to the Gym, it releases endorphins “- Laura (current student)

“I try to make sure I have something to look forward to whenever I return to my dorm from visiting my family. Like having my favourite blanket in my dorm room”- Kaitland (Honours student).

You’re never alone at UNE

Homesickness is normal, but if it starts to affect your life, grades or health you should seek support from those around you. UNE offers a range of support for students both online and on campus.

The UNE Counselling and Psychological Services team is always happy to help. They can be contacted through their email at or by phone on (02) 6773 2897 between 9 am – 4 pm Monday to Friday

There is also UNE After-Hours Crisis Support available on weekdays between 4 pm and 9 am, on weekends, and on public holidays. To contact them, call 1300 611 927 or text 0488 884 169.

You can also come and have a chat with the team at Advocacy & Welfare, who can direct you to further support services.

The team at Advocacy and Welfare offers confidential support to students! Contact them here.
Student Success also has confidential counselling for students, you can find them here.
Lifeline is also a 24/7 hotline and you can call them on 13 11 14