Coping with homesickness and loneliness as an international student

Written by Zahra Meslati, NTU Alumni

Congratulations! Starting university can be very exacting with with lots of changes and challenges and great experiences to learn. You may feel anxious and stressed which is normal during the first few weeks at the university. Transitions into university can be hard to cope with and some students may find it hard to live independently, coping with financial pressures and social inclusion can impact on student’s mental and wellbeing health. I’m going to be sharing some helpful tips and advice in how to cope and deal with common challenges faced by students in this current transition period.

What is homesickness?

Statically speaking that between 50% and 70% of UK students suffer from homesickness.

Moving to university, leaving family, friends your home away its huge life-changing event so its ok to feel homesick. Moving to a new city, meeting new people and having a new challenge in your life – is a massive transition and it can take time to adjust. So, remember to be kind to yourself; don’t expect to know everything right away.

Signs of homesickness often include:

  • Feeling teary
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Change in appetite
  • Feeling nauseous a lot
  • Lack of concentration
  • Feeling isolated and withdrawn
  • Feeling overwhelmed or anxious

Ways to tackle homesickness:

The trick is to keep yourself busy and try to get to know your surroundings as much as possible.

  • Stay connected with family and friends
  • Keep yourself busy
  • Decorate your room
  • Discover the new city
  • Be realistic about what to expect at the university life.
  • Join sports and eat healthy
  • If its getting worse seek help from student wellbeing support
  • Decorate your room to make it feel homely, perhaps have some things that remind you of home too.
  • Get involved with the NTSU or Global Lounge

Tips for International students on homesickness

I myself was an international student so I know how hard it can be to settle into a new culture, it’s so different than being at home. Always remind yourselves it can take some time to adapt to a new environment, new culture and it can be challenging. NTU have a great support especially for international students. I was supported by international student support, who can help and support you with your transition to a new country and to help you to understand the culture and social environment in the UK. There are also many activities for international students that you can join by visiting Global Lounge. This is will be great opportunity for you to make new friends and explore a new culture. 


Loneliness is a common feeling that we will all experience at some point especially during transition period! There are number of reasons for students to feel lonely such as moving away from friends and family, experiencing different culture or finding it hard to connect to new people.

There are 6 tips you can do to try combat your loneliness;

  1. Get out for a short walk around your new area.
  2. Join a society at NTSU
  3. Join in with wellbeing events and workshops. If you check out NTU’s Student Support Services on social media you can find out about all the latest events and workshops running too!
  4. Try to get out of your room and study somewhere new
  5. Try to be kind to yourself and do not be harsh
  6. Do things you enjoy and find relaxing

3 ways to make friends at university

It’s okay to feel anxious and worrying in starting off at university, especially when you try to make new friends. We can all feel stressed out and worrying thinking oh gosh no one will like me or I will not be able to meet the people I will fit in with? Transition at the university means starting new life new challenges and getting out of your comfort zone.

  1. Try lots of different avenues to meet new people. I joined in at the Global Lounges with opportunities to socialise and make friends from over the world.
  2. Join in during welcome week starting in September. The NTSU offer lots of different events, from night outs to more relaxed events like costume making
  3. Perhaps you are interested in becoming a Faith Ambassadors to meet new people too!

For more helpful tips take a look at Student Minds resources on starting university.

For help, advice and resources whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.

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