India, Sri Lanka, Student Stories

How to overcome homesickness while studying abroad

August 4, 2022 - 4 min read

It takes bravery to chase your dreams and seek better opportunities for your future by studying abroad. Immersing yourself in a new culture, meeting a wide range of different people, and trying out new experiences for the first time – it’s an adventure! 

Although it is exciting to experience a new country – like Australia – firsthand, it can be a long way from home. And you can miss the familiarity of your home, your friends and family and everything you know. 

‘My parents supporting my decisions despite me being away from them is my motivation because that gave the confidence that they believed in me and what I am capable of.’ 

Homesickness can be tough and dealing with it alone can be even tougher. So, we talked with some international students currently studying at Deakin University in Australia about moving and how they overcame their homesickness. 

We asked Sayine, a student who moved from Sri Lanka to study a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at the Deakin’s Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus, about her experience moving here. 

‘I’ve never lived away from home and leaving [my family] 4000 miles behind emotionally did take a toll on me,’ she said. ‘I am an only child and was coddled my whole life and leaving behind my parents was one of the toughest decisions I ever made.’ 

But thinking about the journey ahead, Sayine made up her mind to make the big move. ‘My parents supporting my decisions despite me being away from them is my motivation because that gave the confidence that they believed in me and what I am capable of.’ 

Stay connected with home 

One way to help overcome homesickness is staying in touch with your loved ones. Sayine has been keeping in touch with her parents every day. 

‘My mom’s calls are the main things I look forward to during the day. Talking to her always makes me emotional but it’s what keeps me more rooted to home without losing touch,’ she said. 

Sayine says it is hard to juggle staying in touch while working part-time and studying, but tries to talk to them regularly. 

Sayine hanging out with friends at Deakin Res

Enjoying the beautiful surroundings of the Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

She says the first few months away from her parents and pet dogs was ‘mentally exhausting and sad’ but with time, ‘it got easy to deal with. Calling my mom and forcing her to send more videos of my pets is what I look forward to.’ 

Immerse yourself in your new environment

Moulishri moved from India to study at Deakin. She lives in student accommodation at the Melbourne Burwood Campus

‘The escapade of living on residential accommodations and having the opportunities to explore and socialise with different people has been an enlightening experience,’ she said. 

‘Living on Res is one of the decisions I feel happy and proud making. It’s so safe and peaceful to live in Res and the activities that are available for the residents to participate is an added bonus.’ 

Moulishri immersed herself in orientation activities and other new experiences. She participated in a variety of activities, such as campus tours, museum tours, social moonlight cinema, and BBQ events at residential accommodation. ‘I missed home but I also knew that I found a new home here, at Deakin.’ 

According to Moulishri, ‘Every day is exciting and filled with new opportunities, events and adventures.’ 

Sayine agrees that living at Deakin Residences – or ‘Res’ – makes it easier to fit in. What made her feel more at home were the friends she came with from Sri Lanka, as well as the new friends that she made. 

‘Finding people to bond with and making time to start new things really helped me find my way through the sadness,’ she said. 

‘Living on Res is one of the decisions I feel happy and proud making. It’s so safe and peaceful to live in Res and the activities that are available for the residents to participate is an added bonus.’ 

‘There are loads of activities such as food trucks, movie nights, coffee runs and more. I thought that I would feel out of place in a foreign land, but my housemates are really kind and [I] made a lot of friends just days into living at Res.’ 

Reach out for support 

Homesickness is perfectly normal. It may take time to overcome but the most important thing is to look after your wellbeing and reach out if you need support. 

‘I’ve really got to say how helpful the staff has been for this whole journey because without them I would have been so lost,’ said Sayine. 

Deakin is ranked Victoria’s #1 university for student support and there are plenty of channels for students to reach out to if they need help. Through study support, counselling, and other services, we’re here to support you when you need it. 

‘As an international student who just left home – leaving everything behind and afraid of the future – it was really a peace of mind to know that the staff is reliable and the whole environment is peaceful.’ 

Quick links 

Learn more about studying in Australia 

Learn more about what it’s like living in Australia 

Learn more about Deakin’s campuses 

Learn more about student accommodation at Deakin University 

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