And woman carrying a packing box into her new home

Tips For Moving Away From Home

Jasmyne Jeffery September 10, 2022

Although starting uni is a really exciting time, for many people it means moving away from home for the first time. It can be incredibly daunting, but there are ways around that scary feeling and homesickness.

Deciding where to go to university is one of the hardest decisions of the process. You want to find a course that you love and in a place that you love, too. Also, you have to consider how far away from home it is. Some don’t want to leave home and that’s perfectly fine but, for others, it’s the natural next step. However, that doesn’t make it any easier.

Making my choice

I decided that I wanted to live in Cardiff before I knew what course, or even what university, I wanted to attend. Slightly unconventional, I know, but a big part of that decision was distance. As I told my parents, Cardiff is close enough to my hometown that it would only take a couple of hours to get to. However, it was far enough away that I would have to move and actually fend for myself.

To me, that was a perfect compromise.

So, I finalised my choice of university and a course, and that was it. I was actually moving away from home. As moving day got closer, I was a whirlwind of excitement and nerves but in the best way. I knew this is what I wanted to do, but that didn’t make it any less scary.

The aftermath

For the first couple of weeks or so, I was completely fine. There was so much happening that I barely had time to think about home. There was getting settled, finding a job, starting uni and making new friends. When the initial rush gradually slowed, I realised that I actually was missing home. I have younger siblings and a close-knit family, so it was always going to happen, and it will happen to you too.

Just because you’re really excited about something, doesn’t mean that there aren’t downsides. However, that also shouldn’t stop you from doing it either.

Even if it’s not your family that you miss, it might be friends, memories or just the place itself. Either way, missing home is a right of passage.

Helping to solve homesickness

Having lived away from home for three years, I’ve built up a few tips on how to help homesickness. It might not go away completely, but it definitely gets better.

  • Organise calls/video calls: It might not be every week but knowing that you’ll be speaking to family soon really helps. Seeing their faces is even better, particularly if you’re like me and have younger siblings. Remember, they’ll be missing you too.
  • Trips home: Most students go home for the holidays, but I often spent a weekend here and there at home too. A short burst of home really helped curb the homesickness until I went home for a longer stint. This is harder to do if you move further than a couple of hours away, but it’s something worth considering when deciding on a university.
  • Sending a quick text: Sometimes you can’t commit to an hour-long call but still want to talk to loved ones. A text means they can get back to you whenever they’re free, but they know that you’re thinking about them. It doesn’t have to be about anything important, just a quick check-in.
  • Bringing memories: Bring photos, teddies and posters from home. Not only will it make your room feel more like yours, but it means you’ll have pieces of home with you too. Voicenotes and videos are great for hearing voices whenever you need to.

Homesickness is unavoidable, but it’s part of the process. It definitely shouldn’t stop you from moving away from home and starting a new chapter of your life.

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Hello! My name is Jasmyne and I’m a soon-to-be graduate of English and Creative Writing at the University of South Wales. Originally from North Devon, I now love living in Cardiff. I’m really into my movement; an advocate for joyful movement. I spend my free time either reading, at the Wales Millennium Centre, or running around the city.