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Overcome Feeling Homesick

What to do When you Feel Homesick at College

Written by Alexander College in Student Life on March 20, 2019

You may have been in Canada for a few weeks, months or perhaps even years.

At some point, the excitement of being in a new place wears off, and an ache for the familiar sets in. You may feel lonely, sad, and find yourself longing for the familiarity of your family and home country.

This feeling is an almost universal experience for students studying abroad, known as homesickness

Homesickness can be difficult, but take comfort in knowing that everybody feels it sometimes. In this article, we are sharing ways to overcome feeling homesick!

Plate with sad face
College student sitting at beach looking at ocean

There are a Number of Factors that can Contribute to Homesickness:

  1.     Being away from friends and family
  2.     Difficulty getting used to a new culture and language
  3.     Adjusting to a new phase in your life without the close social support you’re used to

Severe homesickness can lead to mood disorders, academic issues, social withdrawal, and physical symptoms such as muscle tension, headaches and more.

Although your homesickness might linger, it will get better.

Here are a Couple Tips on How to Overcome Homesickness:

Two students high fiving at the beach
Street art displaying 'We Like You Too'
  1.  Recognize that this is what you’re dealing with and allow yourself to feel and work through the feelings.
  2.  Talk to others about how you are (or aren’t) coping
  3.  Allow yourself to make new friends and keep in touch with your loved ones back home
  4.  Involve yourself in AC events and clubs
  5.  Find restaurants, grocery stores, festivals, and community events in Vancouver that remind  you of the comforts of home.
  6.  Remind yourself that it’s huge accomplishment to be studying abroad and notice what you are grateful for and what you do like about your new life in Canada.
  7.  Pay attention to your thoughts and try to think positively.

In addition, it’s common to feel homesick during the holiday, during special events back home or if a family member is ill. The upside of homesickness is that it’s often a time of growth and resilience!

Not only that, it enables the development of healthy coping behaviours.

Behaviours such as :

Seeking out new friends and activities

Establishing good self-care routines

Staying in touch often with family and friends back home

The first step is understanding your feelings and why they’re there! So don’t be ashamed, we all feel and that’s what makes us human! But with the right coping strategies, we can find the silver lining in every situation!

Are you looking for someone to speak to? Do you feel homesick?

Contact Kerry-Anne Holloway, our Health and Wellness Counsellor for confidential appointments with students at 604-780-1799 or

Registered Clinical Counsellor and Canadian Certified Counsellor at Alexander CollegeAuthor: 

Kerry Anne is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Canadian Certified Counsellor and loves to work with students at Alexander College in her role as the Health and Wellness Counsellor. I’m here to offer students support, a fresh perspective and guidance in times of stress or difficulty. When I’m not working I love travelling, keeping active, hanging out with friends and family and finding the spiciest food in Vancouver and abroad.

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