College Tips, American Culture

Miss living at home? Here’s how to handle it!


Weeks into your first semester? Mid-terms stressing you out? As the excitement of starting college is fading away, and the classes are getting hard, now you might be looking back and missing your family, your friends, and your favorite foods…

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If that’s the case for you, we are here to help! Below you will find some of the most helpful tips we collected to handle your homesickness.

It’s more common than you think

Many new college students wish they were back where they grew up. For international students, feeling “homesick” is especially common. The good news is this feeling goes away, and there are lots of ways to cope in the meantime, including:

  • Staying connected to home even when you’re far away.
  • Discovering new things to love about your new home.
  • Finding other ways to help overcome your homesickness.

How to stay connected to home

It’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on what’s happening back home. Luckily, it’s also easy to stay in touch with loved ones.

Schedule regular chats with loved ones. Knowing you can count on these “appointments” will help you feel more comfortable. For instance, on Sunday mornings you could call your parents, and use Skype to video chat with your best friend on Wednesday nights.

Stay connected with social media. It’s easy to keep in touch using Facebook, Twitter, VK, Sina Weibo, RenRen and other social media networks. And if you have a mobile phone in the USA, you can get and share updates while you’re on the go too.

Share your culture. Invite other students to join you in celebrating a holiday. Ask your family to mail you a package of your favorite snacks, and then share them so other students can try them. Make an effort to learn about other cultures too – you’ll find many similarities as well as interesting differences.

Seek out people interested in your culture. Look for student clubs that celebrate your culture. If you don’t see a club for something you’re passionate about, start it yourself. You can also put up signs inviting people to learn a language you speak (as a bonus, you’ll get to practice your English too).

How to feel more at home at school

Embrace what you wouldn’t find back home: new friends to meet, new places to discover, and new things to do. They won’t replace what you miss, but they will help you feel more at home.

Focus on why you came to study here. Write down all the reasons why you chose your new school and studying in the USA. Then make a list of things to do, see and try. For instance, if you love art or history, include local museums on your list.

Make it a priority to meet new people. Think about all the other students around you. Some are new like you, and adjusting to life and independence. They probably want to make new friends too, so don’t be shy.

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Don’t hide behind friends and family back home. Resist the urge to obsess over what’s happening elsewhere. The more you focus on what’s far away, the less time you have to discover and enjoy what’s right in front of you.

Create a routine. Having structure in a new place can help you overcome the unfamiliar. Maybe you always have a cup of coffee around 3pm, go the gym every other day or attend a sports game each week.

Stay active. Distracting yourself means you’re less likely to feel sorry for yourself. Going for a walk, spending time at the gym or exploring your new campus on a bike are great ways to feel more energetic and positive.

How to find more homesickness help

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are plenty of people who get homesick, and many people who can provide tips and support.

Talk with your Resident Assistant/Advisor. Your RA has likely experienced homesickness and helped other students with it too. Mention how you’re feeling and ask if you can schedule a time to talk more, so your RA has time to prepare.

Ask to speak with a counselor at school. There’s nothing embarrassing about feeling homesick or wanting to talk about it. Trained counselors at your school can help provide some support and guidance.

Talk about it with other students. They’re probably feeling the same way, and might have some tips of their own. It can also be a way to bond and make new friends. Share how you feel but maintain a positive attitude – too much negativity can make others feel uncomfortable.

Call KU AAP support line. It’s available any time to help you make a smooth and happy transition into life at school. To speak with a friendly helper, send us a message at KUAAP or KU International Student Service.

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We are always here to help!



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