Homesickness: Tips to cope with it when you start school!

Written by Alexander Academy in Blog on September 21, 2022


Homesickness is a by-product of a new journey that students embark on, to achieve their academic goals. It’s that time of the year again, along with the excitement there is another side to the coin. The move away from home, the anxiety of the unfamiliar environment, new friends and teachers, all add up to students feeling very lonely and homesick.

What is homesickness?  

Homesickness is a result of an emotion one feels, when they are separated from their home, their comfort zone. For international students, they feel insecure both, emotionally and physically as they step into something unknown, unstable and less predictable.  

Although this may seem daunting, but homesickness is a short-term issue that usually fades away once students get accustomed to their new routine and start to get familiar with the surroundings.  

Students must reach out for help at school or talk to their parents to resolve this without waiting for it to negatively affecting them mentally, emotionally and physically.  


Few common symptoms of homesickness:  

  • Disturbed sleep cycle 
  • Feeling irritated, angry and nervous  
  • Loss of appetite and concentration 
  • Low energy  
  • Feelings of overwhelm and panic 
  • Lonely, withdrawn 
  • Low self esteem  

Coping with homesickness can feel tough. We want to let you know that you are not alone in this. If you see yourself curling up in bed and feeling low, that is when taking action becomes mandatory. Take charge of the situation and follow some of these tips mentioned below to feel more at ease.  

1. Acknowledging and taking action

The first step is to be aware of your emotions. Just knowing how you feel and knowing you have tools and resources to deal with it makes things easier. Homesickness is a natural response when you leave home, family and friends that you have known for so long. Take action and talk to a professional and seek help. 

2. Stay in touch with family and friends 

A simple advice yet, seldom practiced. Most people try to deal with homesickness by isolating themselves. They feel like they will be able to forget it if they don’t see, talk or hear about friends and family. Staying in touch keeps you grounded and helps you to share your emotions which makes you feel lighter.  

Subconsciously, knowing that there are people who you can call/text any time gives you a sense of security and familiarity. Stay in touch with family and friends and share your new experiences with them. This will motivate you to make new friends and explore more, so that you can share these stories with your loved ones back home.  

3. Exercise, eat healthy and sleep well 

When we move to a new country, we usually lose track of our routine, it is important to remember that we need to take out time to work out and get some fresh air at least for 30 minutes a day. Either play a sport of simply just walk around in the park. Movement helps the mind and body to function well.  

Eating healthy is another thing that students need to take care of. Loss of energy and fatigue can be caused due to skipping meals, eating junk or not eating enough etc. This really affects our emotions and reactions to situations. Eating well and getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night keeps you active and motivated.  

4. Make sure you use the student support services at your school 

Don’t be afraid to reach out to the student support services at your school. Alexander academy treats emotional and mental health of its students and families at top priority. 

We have an in-house wellness resource that students can make use of at no added cost. This is a safe space created for students to seek help and talk about any problems that they are facing. Along with that, Canada has many free resources and helplines for students and young adults.  

Here is the list of some of the resources available:  

  1. Students in Canada who need to talk to a counsellor outside of Health and Wellness Counsellor’s office hours, please text or call Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868, which is available 24/7 and is anonymous and confidential. 
  1. 12 Instant Stress Busters by KidsHelpPhone 
  1. Self Care Checklist by KidsHelpPhone 
  1. A COVID-19 Guide for Youth by Foundry BC 
  1. Instruction on Self-Isolation – Coronavirus Factsheet from the Government of Canada 

Alexander Academy’s Health and Wellness counsellor Ms.Jessie Chen from Alexander College (our sister college) is available for our students by appointment for any health and wellness concerns. Our counsellor is onsite every Wednesday.

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For more information visit: 
Office hours: Monday to Friday, 9am – 4:30pm 


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