Coping with homesickness

No matter how old you are, it’s normal to feel homesick when you are far away from home.

What are the signs of homesickness?

Homesickness can feel different to different people. Some people may often feel sad and lonely and cry. Other people may find it hard to focus and work. Some people even have physical symptoms like frequent stomachaches or headaches.

I think I’m homesick. What should I do?

If you have physical symptoms, like pain, you should see a doctor or nurse to make sure you are not actually sick. And if you have other symptoms of homesickness like crying, sadness, or not being able to work well, MIT has resources that can help:

  • Contact  Student Mental Health & Counseling Services: If you are an MIT student, call 617-253-2916 to speak with a mental health provider.
  • Contact MyLife Services: If you are a postdoc associate or postdoc fellow or a staff member at MIT, MyLife Services will provide you with up to four free and confidential counseling sessions with a licensed mental health professional.
  • Check out MIT Spouses & Partners Connect, where you can join activities that help you make friends, learn English, share experiences and passions, and get information about living in the Boston area.
  • Talk to a wellness specialist who can help you learn new ways to cope with homesickness.

There are also many ways you can help yourself feel better:

  • Find your peers. If you can find people on campus or in the area who come from the same area and speak the same language, you will begin to feel more at home at MIT.
  • Find the best ways to stay in touch with family and friends at home. Some people enjoy calling or video-calling with distant family and friends, but sometimes seeing their faces or hearing their voices can just make you miss home even more. If so, find different ways to stay in touch. Use more email or texting or another way of communicating that doesn’t make you feel as sad and lonely.
  • Save reminders of home. Find objects that remind you of home and make you feel happy. Keep them where you can see them.
  • Use a calendar. Post a “countdown calendar”—a wall calendar that shows the next time you will see family and friends.
  • Be active. Exercise can make you feel better.
  • Explore! Leave campus, and explore Cambridge and Boston.
  • Be social. Participate in social events with your colleagues.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep can be surprisingly helpful. Try to catch up on your sleep wherever you can.