Home Sweet Home? Students and Homesickness

The Association of Train Operating Companies recently published research suggesting that homesickness among students peaks in the third week of October. The top five cities from which 16-25 year olds were travelling in the third working week of October was Exeter, Durham, Liverpool, Bristol, and Birmingham. The reality of university work seems to settle now, and this is may be why we take the trip home.

From the people I’d asked, the consensus was that most people didn’t really feel homesick in the first year of university: getting to know new people and checking out new events seems to suppress the separation now established between you and home. One of the main factors influencing whether or not we go home was distance: those from Edinburgh can easily go home on just over an hour and a half trip. But for others who are taking trains (or even planes) further afield don’t see a weekend at home as worth the cost.

Some said they felt more homesick in second year: settling into a flat and becoming an adult in terms of additional responsibilities hit home more. Consistent routines and a “back to school” feeling might make you think more about your mum calling you for dinner. A phone call can sometimes make us feel that bit better, and consistent communication might make us feel like our parents aren’t so far away from us as we think – even if their culinary skills sadly are.

What about why we feel homesick? Some miss their parents and siblings. I’m sure some miss their pets just as much as they miss their parents. I personally miss my bedroom: I liked the comfort it brings to me when I go back, the safety of it. I miss speaking Welsh and I miss the countryside. But that’s what makes it special when I do go home. I agree with the saying “you can never go home again”, but that’s because I, personally, don’t think I ever really left.

[Evan Osborne]

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