Feeling at home in Leeds

Life in a new social, cultural and academic environment is exciting but can feel challenging. Whether you've recently arrived in Leeds or you've been here for some time, there's lots of support to help you feel at home.

Explore the Feeling at Home in Leeds online guides on Minerva for undergraduates, taught postgraduates or postgraduate researchers to help you settle in, adapt to changes and make the most of all the opportunities for learning and personal growth. You can also sign up for group workshops that run at different times of year. 

Feeling at Home in Leeds online guides

How to access your online guide

Taught students

Follow the instructions below to enrol in the Feeling at Home in Leeds organisation on Minerva, using your University of Leeds email address and password.

  1. Log into Minerva by using one of the links below to take you to the Feeling At Home in Leeds Minerva page for your study level:
  2. Follow the brief enrolment instructions provided on that page.
  3. After you have enrolled, you will find your Feeling at Home in Leeds guide listed under 'Organisations', which you view by clicking on the 'Learn' tab in Minerva.

Postgraduate researchers

You’ll find your Feeling at Home in Leeds online guide in the Leeds Doctoral College organisation on Minerva.

Who can use the online guides? 

The online guides will be particularly useful if you're studying in the UK for the first time, but all students and postgraduate researchers are welcome to explore the guides. We hope that everyone will find something useful in the videos, activities and resources. 

There are different versions of the guide for each of the three study levels (undergraduate, taught postgraduate and research postgraduate).

What is in the online guides? 

In the guides you’ll hear about students' experiences and advice about settling in, making friends, and making the most of all aspects of University life. You’ll hear from students and postgraduate researchers who’ve shared their stories of making the transition to living and studying in Leeds. You’ll hear about what they found different and exciting, what helped them meet challenges, and what they’ve learned from their experiences. You can also use the interactive activities to help you apply the ideas and strategies to your own situation.  

You can explore these different sections of the guide in any order:

  • Navigating change and cultural differences
  • Making friends and finding balance
  • Getting the right help and support
  • Getting the most from University life
  • Navigating the Leeds academic environment.  

Feeling at Home in Leeds group workshops

Free courses of Feeling at Home in Leeds group workshops run at different times of the year. The course provides an opportunity to share your experiences of culture change with fellow students and postgraduate researchers. You’ll also help each other develop strategies for making the most of your intercultural experience at Leeds, including improving and developing skills in these areas:

  • Participating in academic groups
  • Making social conversation
  • Seeking help
  • Expressing disagreement and saying no.

The course was a breath of fresh air for me. This activity helped me to enjoy more my time here in Leeds [and] helped me to find the balance between my personal and student life. The course gave me tools to 'survive' in a global environment, not only to understand the British culture but also to understand other cultures. (Previous workshop participant).

The Feeling at Home in Leeds course has been developed by the International Student Office in collaboration with Student Counselling and Wellbeing.

Who can attend the group workshops?

The workshops are for international (including EU) students and postgraduate researchers.

How to sign up

The next 5 week workshop course will run every Friday from 8 November to 6 December 2019 at 2pm - 4.15pm. Apply for a place before 9am on 28 October 2019

If you would like to hear about future workshops when they become available, please register your interest using our online form.

If you have any questions about our online workshops or online guides, please contact us at globalcommunity@leeds.ac.uk

What to do if you are feeling homesick or lonely

Remember you are not alone

Feeling homesick affects two out of three University students at some point. It's a perfectly normal part of the experience of leaving home or moving to a new place. Symptoms of homesickness may include:

  • Feeling lost, lonely or unhappy.
  • Missing home.
  • Regularly thinking about the past.
  • Not wanting to get out of bed, or leave your room.
  • Feeling overwhelmed with everything.
  • Constantly feeling unwell.

If you're living in a new country, things like the climate, food and behaviour in social and academic situations may all be different to what you're used to, and some of the people around you may have different values and viewpoints. Living in a new country can be very exciting, but you may find the changes can feel difficult and stressful for a while.

For most people, feelings such as homesickness or culture shock are temporary, and after a short time many settle down and enjoy their time away from home. However it can be a difficult time, and it's important to know steps you can take to help yourself, connect with others, and where to go for support.

STEPS TO HELP YOU SETTLE IN 

  • Talk to your friends about how you feel. You won't be alone in how you're feeling.
  • Have a chat with your student support officer, a Chaplain, or your warden if you’re in a university residence. They will all listen and give you their support.
  • Put up photos, plants and posters to make your room feel comfortable and welcoming.
  • Try and create a work/life balance. It's important to study, but an evening out with new friends, a trip into town or to the countryside, or just watching a film can be good to look forward to.
  • Don't give up. It's normal to feel like leaving at first, but the feelings usually pass within a few weeks.
  • Keep busy. Planning your days and establishing a routine that works for you won't leave you much time to feel homesick.  

WAYS TO MEET NEW PEOPLE

Everyone arriving at University is in a new environment. Making friends can help combat feeling lost and homesick. You may find others on your course or where you live are feeling a similar way to you. It's important to remember that most new students will be looking for friends and that there are lots of ways to meet like-minded people on campus:

  • Take part in a Give it a Go Session to try a social activity and meet both new and more experienced Leeds students.
  • Join clubs and societies. They're a great way of meeting new people with the same interest as you.
  • You'll see most of the people on your course in lectures and seminars, but your faculty or school will have an academic or departmental society that will organise trips and evening events.
  • Get involved with Global Community events and opportunities – these are open to UK and international students.
  • Volunteer to help with something you are interested in. Find out more about opportunities to volunteer
  • If you are in University accommodation, attend events organised at your residence.

WHERE TO GET SUPPORT

Speak to your tutor, or other people in your school. They are very understanding about what it's like to be away from home, and can help. 

The Student Help and Support team, part of Leeds University Union can offer confidential chat, online and in person.

The Chaplaincy also offers confidential listening and pastoral support. 

Student Counselling and Wellbeing provides help if you're experiencing emotional or psychological difficulties. Using counselling is not a sign of weakness, but a positive move towards addressing problems. Counsellors won't be able to provide instant solutions, but will listen to you, help you increase your self-awareness and find ways to work through the issues you're facing.