Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. Andrews chapter.

Moving to university and adjusting to university life are undoubtedly huge changes for anyone, with homesickness often being part of many students’ experiences. While homesickness is often talked about, it is rarely done so in the context of food. As an Malaysian-Singaporean international student, missing food from home has been a big part of my uni experience. In my last three years in St Andrews, I have met various students who have also experienced food homesickness at uni. Does this sound like something you’re going through? If so, read on to find out my top tips for how I deal with food homesickness at uni.

Cooking Recipes from Home at Home

Despite being a third-year, I only started regularly cooking for myself this year, as I had been in catered halls for my first two years of uni, and I found that it has been something I love.. One of my favourite parts of cooking is being able to cook food from home to feel a little closer to home. Learning the recipes of my childhood has been really useful in those moments where I want to have food from home, without paying £20 for a dish (and an extra £3 for rice) at a restaurant. 

While I have loved my uni life in the UK, I can’t say that the food is something of which I have been a huge fan. I have also found that cooking for other people has become a love language for me, and has allowed me to share a taste of home with my uni friends. Cooking can also be a nice way to discover specialty grocery stores who have the ingredients you need (in my case, Asian grocery stores) and is overall super fun!

Host potlucks

In a similar vein to my last tip, another useful tip could be to host a potluck with your friends, especially with friends who love the same recipes from home that you may be missing at uni. This has various benefits. Firstly, you could build camaraderie with people from the same area as you, who may be going through something similar. Secondly, who doesn’t love food? Thirdly, cooking can be a nice way to relax, especially considering that we are currently in the thick of revision season. The times that I have attended potlucks have been so enjoyable, and potlucks are definitely popular events amongst various students and societies here in the bubble.

Join Cultural Societies

It’s no secret that St Andrews has a bustling society life and a robust international student population. St Andrews is home to around 150 societies, including various cultural societies from around the world. Since these societies are largely attended by students from a specific country, many of them face the same issue of food homesickness. Most of these societies therefore organise various food-related events to build a ‘home away from home’ and to let people who enjoy cuisine from their country  join them. The St Andrews Malaysian International Group, for instance, organised an event last month, where people could make a bowl of pan mee (a Chinese homemade noodle soup) for the price of £4 or £7, depending on whether they were a member. Since pan mee was a recipe I grew up with, I loved being able to have that taste of home with a community of people who understand what it’s like to miss specific recipes. Joining these societies is also a really easy way to make friends with people that you otherwise wouldn’t have met, whether that’s people who have a similar background to you or people who are interested in your culture!

Go out (sometimes)

While I am aware that some of my previous tips mentioned how expensive it is to eat out, it doesn’t mean you can’t. Despite being a town of around 17,000 people, St Andrews is a surprisingly cosmopolitan place. Thai pop-up Tanon has proven popular with both Thai and non-Thai students, with South Street’s Jahangir being similarly popular with many. There are also more local restaurants, such as the award-winning Tailend on Market Street or Blackhorn Burgers if you want a fairly cheap burger. Going to restaurants can be a really cool way to explore the local food scene here in St Andrews, while allowing you to enjoy familiar flavours from home or food you may have never tried. That being said, eating out constantly is not the most budget-friendly option, so it’s important that moderation is key here.

While food homesickness and adjusting to university life can be difficult, they are by no means insurmountable challenges. Students from St Andrews hail from all corners of the globe, meaning that this is an issue that many people have (and will continue to) face. I hope that some of these tips can make food homesickness at least a little easier, and that they can help you find your feet in a ‘home away from home.’

Taasia Thong

St. Andrews '25

I'm a third-year Malaysian-Singaporean studying Modern History and IR (I use she/her/hers pronouns). I've lived in six countries, so I'm passionate about multiculturalism and diversity, and love meeting and interacting with new people and cultures! My other interests include legal affairs, East Asian history, global politics, literature, journalism and fashion. You can often find me drinking unreasonable amounts of green tea, (struggling) to solve the NYT crossword and trying to make the perfect chicken katsu.