Homesickness and how to overcome it

Homesickness is common and many university students feel homesick at some stage. You might feel okay at first, but find yourself feeling homesick later, perhaps around a traditional holiday, a special occasion or at the start of your second year.

It’s a completely normal feeling if you’re away from your family and friends, especially if you’re from overseas. It can last a few weeks or even months. Find out what you can do if you're feeling like this and where you can get support to help you get used to your new environment.

Tips to help you overcome homesickness

Here are great tips from some of our students on how they overcame homesickness:

  • Familiar is good: Set up your room with something familiar from home, like a photo of your family and friends, or make it your screen saver on your laptop
  • Keep in contact with family and friends at home: Tell them how you’re feeling and let them know you want to hear from them
  • Talk to someone you trust about it: If you haven’t yet made friends, try talking to a counsellor at AUT, a Student Hub advisor or your lecturer
  • Be brave: Make an effort to talk to someone new every day, especially at the start of semester. Talk to someone else about how you feel – another new student will probably feel the same way
  • Be kind to yourself: It’s okay to miss home. Remember to eat properly, get enough sleep and exercise
  • Know your environment: Learn what facilities and services are available at AUT and in your neighbourhood – you’ll feel more in control
  • Involve yourself in a variety of activities: Respond to invitations to places or events where you’ll meet more people
  • Join a club: If you belong to a sports or social club back home, find out if a similar club exists here – check with AUTSA or in your local area. You may make new friends with similar interests
  • Find familiar places: See if there’s a church, community group or restaurant where you’ll meet other people from the same country as you
  • Don’t rush it: Try to avoid rushing into making major decisions, for example, about staying or leaving. Be realistic about what to expect from student life and from yourself.

Look after your wellbeing

Being well has a significant and positive impact on your studies. Use our tips and resources to look after your physical, mental, spiritual and social wellbeing.


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Culture shock if you’re an international student

Arriving in New Zealand is exciting, but once you’ve settled in a bit you may experience culture shock. It’s a natural part of adapting to a new culture and affects most international students. Read our tips for managing culture shock.


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The Hub

Need help or have a question?

Contact the Student Hub throughout your studies at AUT.

Phone: 0800 288 864
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Making friends at AUT

students will become friends

It’s easy to meet new friends and make social connections while you’re studying at AUT. Some of the ways to meet people include: