Dealing with Homesickness

Have you ever experienced that sinking feeling in your stomach and longing for the familiar comforts of family and home? Blogger Gunisha recounts her experiences of feeling homesick as an international student at university and shares some advice on how to deal with homesickness.

By Gunisha Aggarwal.

Some bare trees with lots of leaves on the floor. There is a wooden bench in the foreground of the image.
A peaceful spot at the Tocil wood reserve. Image: Gunisha Aggarwal.

Homesickness is the longing for the comfort of the familiar, the grieving for the version of your life you have left behind and the person you no longer are. Homesickness is that nauseous, sinking, unravelling feeling that makes your stomach feel like jelly. Simply put, homesickness is the distress and anxiety you might experience from being away from home. 

University is an enriching period of growth and learning, but it can also be a solitary experience at times. The transition to university and living on your own is riddled with difficulties. Research suggests that university students are particularly susceptible to homesickness, and at least 70% of students experience homesickness at some point during university. As an international student, I moved from India to the United Kingdom to pursue my bachelors at Warwick. While I am truly enjoying my time at Warwick, I have experienced multiple episodes of homesickness. Along the way, I have learnt some ways that have helped me deal with homesickness that I hope might also help you.

Recognise and validate your feelings

According to my experience, homesickness seems to strike at random and hit in waves. For example, I might be doing laundry or work for my seminars and then I suddenly feel homesick. However, over time, I have realised that my homesickness has patterns. I am particularly vulnerable to feeling homesick at the start of the term because getting into the groove of life at university is hard after enjoying the comforts of home in the holidays. Furthermore, I experience homesickness more when missing out on occasions and festivals back home. I have learnt that recognising and validating your feelings is the first step towards dealing with homesickness. Once you start validating your feelings, you will start to observe patterns and process your feelings better. Journaling is a great outlet to express your thoughts and stay in touch with your feelings. 

Find comfort in fragments of the familiar

Once I recognise that I am feeling homesick, I actively take steps to comfort myself. For example, I cook Indian food, facetime my family, and listen to Hindi music that reminds me of home. Comforting yourself, like self-care, can take different forms for different people. Therefore, embrace your feelings and find comfort in the fragments of the familiar in whatever way is most soothing to you. 

A bowl of food containing rice and a reddish paneer tikka.
Comfort food: Rice and Paneer Tikka. Image: Gunisha Aggarwal.
A pink and blue sky with a tree in the foreground and the Lakeside accommodation block in the background.
My new home: the sunset over Lakeside. Image: Gunisha Aggarwal.

Find your people and make university your new “home”

It’s easy to get caught up in what you are missing out on while being at university, but university is an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone. I have found that getting involved with societies and clubs on campus is a great way to engage yourself, meet new people and learn something new while dealing with homesickness. It’s also fun to explore different parts of campus and nearby cities like Leamington and Coventry to discover hidden gems and acclimatise to your new surroundings. There are various exciting events happening on campus, and you can find out more about these events through Warwick Presents. Furthermore, Study Happy is also a fantastic initiative for social and wellbeing events conducted by the University of Warwick Library. Through these events and more, you will eventually find a community that will support you, and university will become your new “home.” 

Reach out and seek support

It’s important to know that you are not alone. It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed and homesick at times. At the same time, fighting every battle alone is not always necessary. I encourage you to reach out to your family, friends, Warwick Wellbeing services and seek professional help if you feel you are struggling. 

Homesickness is one of the many challenges that you might face at university. If you’d like to learn how to deal with other potential challenges like social anxiety and depression, reading socialising: when anxiety takes over and depression doesn’t like a moving target might be helpful. If you are struggling with any of these issues, please get in touch with the Wellbeing Support Services to seek help.

Do you have any advice or resources to help others deal with homesickness? Let us know by tweeting us @warwicklibrary, messaging us on Instagram @warwicklibrary, or sending us an email at

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