Tips on staying in touch with friends and family back home
Life as a student is full of distractions: new people, new subjects, new room and new city – new you!
But every now and again, there is a gap in the distractions, filled with pangs of missing home. However fun your new experience, the people that love and know you best are miles away.
We thankfully live in the age of technology! And keeping in touch with friends and family has never been easier – read ahead to discover how to blow away those homesick blues.
Skype is a student’s best friend. Everyone uses it to keep in touch – from groups of friends calling you one night to calling your grandma who can’t use the camera properly. It’s ideal for a face-to-face conversation, however far away you are.
Studying abroad? No problem. Skype works overseas and is free over an internet connection. It is also one of the top tips to beat homesickness, for international students.
Facetime or Facebook video works in the same way. Video calls avoid the miscommunication that comes from texting, like taking a sarcastic comment seriously. You can give people a tour of your room and student accommodation. And the best bit is that you can speak for hours without spending a penny!
Create a WhatsApp group
When there isn’t time for a full-blown conversation, there is WhatsApp. Messaging is perfect for a quick hello, funny story or picture of your day. You can also arrange meet ups easily, talking to all your friends in one group chat, and let each other know when you’re all coming home for a reunion.
Other free apps like Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and Google Hangouts are also great. Ultimately, they all keep you in contact with friends and family without too much hassle.
Travelling home is the simplest and most appreciated way of keeping in touch, especially for your parents or siblings, who keep saying how quiet the house is without you!
Alternatively, if you want to avoid a repeated pattern of home visits, consider travelling to somewhere in-between home and university. This way, you get to see new places and enjoy a nice day trip away from student life.
Don’t let the travelling stop there. You probably have friends at universities all over the country – go and see them! Experience the student nights on another campus, see your friends in their new context and explore more of the UK. Most importantly, enjoy some quality time together.
Travelling the UK can be a lot cheaper for students. The 16-25 Railcard lets you travel by any train for a third of the ticket price. There are even discounts on discounts, and the Student Money Saver shows you how to save 50% on the 16-25 railcard itself!
Although technology makes it far easier now to stay in touch, somewhat ironically, nowadays a simple handwritten letter feels even more special and sincere. There is something so thoughtful and affectionate in the act of sending one. It shows that you have put in the time and effort to keep up an ongoing conversation and friendship, and the recipient will definitely recognise this.
Similarly, postcards are a quick and fun way to let someone know you are thinking about them. Include an inside joke or just a quick life update. Your friends will collect and remember them with a lot more gratitude than a WhatsApp message!
Recent research has found that about 70% of students feel homesickness at university. It’s part of the process of independence and self-development that comes from student life, a wave of emotions, overcome by throwing yourself into this new world.
So keep in touch with friends and family – they are there to help, however far away!