Moving away to a new city can be a bit daunting, whether you’ve done it before or not. Adjusting to unfamiliar places, meeting fresh faces and getting used to your new bedroom might sound nerve-wracking at first, but it also means there’s a lot of opportunities to have an awesome time too!
If you tend to get homesick or have found adapting to a different culture is proving tougher than you thought, then don’t fret. With a few creature comforts, a calendar stocked up with social events and a few other changes, it’s easy to make your own home away from home when you’re studying. To show you how, we asked a few of our residents for the tricks and tips they used to turn their new city into somewhere they truly call their home.
Nido Student is all about turning the new and unfamiliar into an inclusive community where people always feel welcome. The comfort of our residents is hugely important to us, the “home away from home” feel is obvious from the second you step foot in a Nido residence. But what about our residents? A diverse bunch staying with us from all across the globe, how do they create a sense of community and give their surroundings that all-important homely touch?
“Home, to me, has been my dorm room in the boarding school I went to,” says Vandana Krishnan, “it’s been the apartment I shared with my best friend during my undergrad days and home to me is also where my parents reside with their favourite child – our dog Fuji.” For Vandana, home is anywhere they feel most welcome and wanted; it’s a feeling created by those you surround yourself with: “Sometimes you find family in friends and its incredible how a few strangers become such an integral part of your life. Having spent these six years away from home, I’ve had the greatest pleasure of not just knowing some of the nicest people but also lived with them.”
Likewise, Maeve Campbell-Shields says: “I start slowly by building a pool of friends, acquaintances, and helpful individuals to build up my support system and I collect them all like Pokémon until I feel safe, secure and happy!” Similarly, getting used to unfamiliar places might feel strange at first, but Maeve’s a big fan of seeking out areas of interest: “I explore the local area and begin to scout out home comforts like food, drink and nature spots. This lets me know I can go to get things or see something that reminds me of home, helping me feel more centred.”
If you’ve travelled from another country for university, then the culture shock may hit hard for some. For George Tsouchnikas, maintaining that link with his native country is an important one. “I sometimes hang out with people from Greece and do things related to our country, like go for souvlaki or drink iced coffee like we do back home.”
Pencilling in some events to look forward to is a good way to beat the homesick blues if you’re missing friends and family. We’re big believers in “work hard, play hard”, so we love to put on events and socials for our residents to get involved with. From summer BBQs and cookery courses to nights out and cultural events, our residents always stay busy during their downtime. It’s an opportunity to let your hair down and get to know your fellow residents in an easy-going environment.
Maeve said: “I went to the Halloween party and met new friends and we drank, danced and had a good laugh! I was nervous at first but because everyone is feeling the same and is in the same boat it makes it easier.” Likewise, Sarah Al-Lawati mentioned: “I’ve attended a few events organised by Nido, and I’ve made great friends at every one of them.”
A few additions and familiar items dotted around your room can make all the difference if you’re missing home. Think about bringing along some creature comforts to give your room a personal touch during term time, whether it’s pictures of your friends, your favourite books or that one cushion that’s too comfy to part with.
Maeve says: “I fill my room with personal or inspiring items to remind me of why I moved. I buy a plant to remind me of nature, I make or buy art to place in my room to keep the space inviting and visually stimulating. I also buy soft furnishings and place all my mementoes and knick-knacks in random places in my room so that when I look around, I see things I recognise.”
It’s an important part of your university journey, so bring whatever works for you. Sarah notes: “I have everything from pictures of my friends and family to stuffed animals, to baby clothes my niece outgrew that I brought with me just in case I feel homesick.”
No matter how nervous you feel about moving to university, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There’ll be plenty of people in the same boat as you; your neighbour might be feeling the same way, knock on their door, invite them somewhere and get the conversation going.
For first-timers, our residents have some top-notch advice of their own to share. After all, they’ve all been in the same position you’ll soon be in too! Vandana offers: “It’s always good to keep yourself busy in multiple ways”, even beyond your usual group of friends or studies. “I believe in making the best use of the resources and opportunities you have in front of you.”
Maeve says: “Life is too short to be shy, challenge yourself and be brave because everyone is feeling the same way and they probably want a friend to go through it with!” For her, exploration and adventure is a huge part of the university experience; she suggests getting to know the city before the course starts, being bold, striking up conversation first and really challenging yourself. “Change can be scary, but it is also a beautiful, exciting journey that shapes and develops you as a person.”
Finally, Sarah offers the following: “Go out and socialise! Making friends can be really hard in a new city, especially if you’re experiencing culture shock or homesickness. But participation in social events can provide so much insight into the culture and lifestyle of your new home, and you might just meet your best friend. And don’t forget about joining societies and volunteering, they’re also great ways of meeting friends whilst enhancing your CV too.”
If you’re looking for a student living experience that offers more, head over to the Nido Student site or drop us a line on 0207 1000 100 for more information on our student residences.