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International & EU Students

Living abroad is a big step, leaving the security of your home to study at Cardiff University can be both exciting and difficult.  This is especially true when one is away from ones normal support systems whether that be family or friends.  Although this is a phase of your life that may only last a few years it can result in your feeling upset and unhappy.  

Counselling is a place where you can seek support and help.  And we recognise that as an International or EU student you may not be used to seeking this kind of support.  You may consider it shameful and very different to what you are used to.  Here at Cardiff University counselling service we see many EU and International students who have found our service particularly helpful with issues such as:

  • Adjusting to a new and unfamiliar culture.
  • Being confused by new values, behaviours, beliefs and lifestyles.
  • Feeling lonely and isolated.
  • Adjusting to the informal nature of UK culture.
  • Feeling the loss of your familiar life.
  • Adapting to different social hierarchies.
  • Feeling you have to achieve perfect academic results possibly as a result of family pressure.
  • Wondering how to make friend with UK students.
  • Anxieties about returning home after your experience at Cardiff University.
  • Relationship concerns.

It may seem strange to you, but counselling really can help to solve some of the issues you may be experiencing.  Something can be done about the way you feel.  It is normal to experience, unhappiness, loneliness and frustration when adjusting to a new environment counselling may help you deal more positively with these issues should they arise.

Even though you may not be used to seeking this kind of support meeting with a professional counsellor allows you to discuss your concerns with someone in a safe, friendly and confidential environment.

Top Tips for coping with homesickness when studying abroad:

  • Make connections with people from your own culture and background, if possible.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends via the internet (Skype, email etc).
  • Keep busy join in the activities provided by the students union.
  • Watch films read books about travel that you find inspiring.
  • Cardiff is a lovely city to walk about in and have a coffee/tea and is very safe in the daytime.  Many people these days go into town to enjoy the city on their own.
  • Keep active, physical activity can lift your mood.
  • Eat well and try to discover where to buy the food you enjoy.
  • Plan your time well, mark on your calendar activities and study times this can help you get your feelings of loneliness in some kind of perspective.
  • Make as much effort as you are able socially even if this doesn’t always bring instant results.  Keep trying.
  • Establish some kind of daily routine.
  • Make your room comfortable and familiar.
  • Sometimes you will feel less homesick and it is important to ask yourself; ‘what are you doing that is making you feel better’.
  • Think that all this hard work will take you into a new phase of life with better employment prospects.
  • Send photos home so that your friends and family have a good understanding of your current life.

If life begins to upset you, contact the counselling service; you are not alone.