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Moving away from home for the first time can seem daunting and many students will experience some level of homesickness at some point during their studies. Settling in, making new friends or changes in personal circumstances can all create challenges and opportunities; whether you have come from the other side of the world or half an hour down the road! 

Cambridge is a truly international and diverse University with students from all cultures and backgrounds attracted to study here for a variety of reasons. There are lots of opportunities for you to meet like-minded people, to make friends and feel at home whilst you are studying here. This could be through your College, your Faculty/Department, the Students’ Unions, by joining clubs or societies, volunteering or simply getting out and exploring the city and our beautiful surroundings.

If you are an EU or overseas student, moving to a new country can lead to a bit of a culture shock as you adjust to your new surroundings.  The UK Council for International Student Affairs offers some advice about how to deal with culture shock. CSU also runs an International Forum. You may also find the Student Minds guidance on Transition helpful, and the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust guide to Starting University.

One myth about university and student lifestyle is that every day is a wild party for students. The reality is that University will present challenges for everyone and everyone’s experience will be different. It can be overwhelming if you feel are not experiencing University in the way you think you ‘should’, or if your values, beliefs or cultural background are at odds with this perceived student lifestyle. Be assured that it’s perfectly natural for you to feel lonely homesick as you make the transition to University and that for the vast majority of students, these feelings subside within a few weeks.

Students often cite keeping busy as a good strategy for coping with homesickness and getting involved in academic and extra-curricular activities is also a helpful tactic. Overall, be kind to yourself and know you are not the only one who will be feeling this way!

Read the University Counselling Service self help leaflet on transition to university.They also provide some self-help guides on loneliness and homesickness. You can also talk to your JCR/MCR Welfare Officer, the Student Advice Service or your Tutor or College Nurse if feelings of loneliness or homesickness persist for more than a few weeks. The Student Minds website also has some helpful resources on making the transition to university.