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For many students the start of the university year means moving away from home for the first time – and the start of a whole new adventure. It’s okay if this feels both daunting and exciting. Some students may experience homesickness a few days after arriving at their new home and others may not experience homesickness until a few weeks after they have moved.

Homesickness is common, and might include experiences of:

  • low mood;
  • anxiety;
  • irritability;
  • feeling unmotivated;
  • feeling like you don’t belong;
  • generally feeling unwell;
  • pre-occupation with thoughts of home;
  • feeling alone and lonely; or
  • feeling disloyal to the people you have left behind.

Moving from home to start your university life means leaving people, places and things that are familiar to you. It can take time to adapt to your new life, and it will become easier as you adjust to your new environment.

Some students may feel their new life at university doesn’t meet their expectations, or that they have been disloyal to the people they have left behind.

It’s important to remember that you are not alone, there are others who may feel like you do. Give yourself time to adjust to your new environment.

What to do

If you think you are experiencing homesickness, there are a few things you can try to relieve feelings of homesickness.

  • Acknowledge that you may be feeling homesick and remind yourself that this is a normal response to adapting to your new environment.
  • Talk to someone you trust who may have experienced moving away from home before. If you don’t know anyone, speak with one of our counsellors or contact Student Central, our staff are here to help and support you.
  • Keep in contact with your community at home.
  • Bring some familiar pictures or items from your home.
  • Get involved in university activities. This is a great way to gain a sense of belonging and meet new people.
  • Start a journal about your new adventure.
  • Make a plan to visit home, or for people to visit you.
  • If you were part of a club, sporting team, or another community at home, find out if your new neighbourhood can offer something similar.
  • Take time to get to know your new surroundings. This can lessen feelings of everything seeming strange and new.

Getting support

Make an appointment with Deakin's Counselling service, Deakin Medical Centre, or Deakin’s Multifaith Chaplains. Not sure where to start? You can get in touch with Student Central for help.

The DeakinWELLBEING app can help you find balance and develop healthy habits, which may help your transition to life as a university student.

Last updated:
Page custodian: Student Services