Living Away From Home

Home > Self Help Guides > Student Issues > Living Away From Home

Living away from home for the first time as a university student can inevitably be a daunting experience.

Although university is a great opportunity for an exciting, fresh start and most importantly, freedom, it’s completely natural for a new student to feel nervous about the prospect of doing everything for themselves for the first time, especially if you’re going to be living a considerable distance away from family, friends and the place where you live outside of term-time.

It’s normal to feel homesick and or to struggle to make new friends but there’s lots you can do and lots of support available.

Symptoms of homesickness

  • A disturbed sleeping pattern
  • Feeling angry, nauseous, nervous or sad
  • Feeling isolated, lonely or withdrawn
  • Feeling overwhelmed, insecure, anxious or panicky
  • Feelings of low self-esteem or self-worth
  • Headaches
  • A lack of appetite or concentration

You're not alone

A good thing to remember is that the University of Bradford is here to help if you’re struggling with anything whilst you settle in, be it emotionally, socially, or practically. As cliché as it sounds, it’s undeniably true that your fellow students are very much in the same boat, so most of the time you’ll also be able to help each other out with little things.

Making friends

There are many  good opportunities for you to get to know other people and make some good friendships in the first (perhaps more difficult) couple of weeks and months, but it also takes some pressure off and highlights that you really aren’t alone. University is a great time to build and demonstrate independence, but also to overcome personal challenges and grow as an individual, so it’s key that you make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.

Joining club and societies

Joining one of UBU’s sports and societies can be a fantastic way to network with other students and make friends. Concerned about finding somewhere to live, keep a lookout for housing fairs on campus which are a great source of information and reassurance. Remember you are not alone, you can always talk to someone at the professional services at Bradford if you are struggling to cope.


Get involved

This will not only provide a distraction, but will also help make UoB your new home. There are so many clubs and societies means you are very likely to find something that suits your particular interests while allowing you to make new friends.

Make your room uniquely yours

If you’ve brought some home comforts, don’t forget to display them. Otherwise, you could print off some photographs or buy some decorations. You would be surprised how much making your room yours can give feelings of ease, even just a poster to mark your individuality will help.

Ask for help

University can be tough, there’s no shame in asking for help. If you’re having any issues don’t suffer in silence. If you’re feeling homesick, worrying about your studies or your finances will only make things worse, so take steps to sort any issues out or get support as soon as they arise. Talk to someone

Get enough food and sleep

These affect us emotionally as well as physically, so remember to look after your body, this will help make you feel better especially while missing home, friends and family.


Fight it

Feeling homesick is completely natural and expected. You are allowed to miss home and feel sad. But remember, you are also allowed to enjoy yourself – it is not being disloyal to those you miss

Feel Alone

Other students are excellent sources of support. Have a chat with them digitally or in person if that’s possible. Everyone feels a bit lost and unsure at first, don’t just assume other people are not feeling homesick, so let them know how you feel and you can help each other.

Phone home too often or go back too early

This won’t help. Give yourself time to get used to things first. But don’t shut them off either! Let the people back home know about your life here, you can even encourage friends and family to come and see you in your new setting.

Set unrealistic expectations of yourself

Establish a balance between work and leisure, you are not expected to work all the time – you would soon burn out if you did. Planning your time can help organise your thoughts and actions.