Homesickness and loneliness

Most people experience homesickness at some time in their life. Assure your child that they will not be the only person feeling homesick, as all students are suddenly and simultaneously having to adapt to an unfamiliar environment.

Managing your child’s expectations of university life can be key. For example, one expectation that some students have is that instantly they will have a large circle of friends. This does not happen for everyone and some young people struggle to fit in and to find their feet. Social networking sites can help with this, but after a while your child may deeply miss friends and family at home. So, your child needs to be prepared and able to leave familiar things, places and people and adapt to new situations. This is unlikely to happen overnight and the first signs you notice may be a drop in confidence or self-esteem.

Encourage your child:

  • to talk to you about how they are feeling - this is good therapy
  • to take a week at a time, reassuring them that almost always, the unhappy feelings will pass.
  • to take things slowly, set some goals and not make any quick decisions about leaving university.

Give your child enough time to get involved at the university. Sometimes bringing your child home too soon can hinder them settling into their new routine. The students' union or university is likely to offer a broad range of activities, groups and societies and are usually crying out for volunteers. Sometimes, volunteering projects or helping other people can really help students settle in and provide good opportunities to meet new people. If the feelings persist, encourage your child to speak to a counsellor at the university or to seek help from their doctor.