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Tips for Overcoming Homesickness in The Big City

Homesickness. We all feel it at some point in our lives - some even more than others. As a student from outside of Ontario, I know this feeling all too well.

When I first moved to Toronto for my first year of university, I was excited and scared at the same time. This was my first taste of adulthood and freedom; I could explore the city, meet new people, explore my creativity and just have a great time. But, homesickness hit me hard when I moved into my first-year dorm room. Everything up to this point started to become real. For the first couple of weeks, I would go straight to my dorm room after class. I would find myself taking naps to pass the time, binge watching TV shows, avoiding people and isolating myself. But honestly, that’s all normal! Maybe it was the introvert inside of me talking, or my homesickness––or both. But I realized I needed to find a way to get out of this rut. With a little time and help from my friends, I eventually did, and I started to become a new and better version of myself. And you can too!

Even though I’m in my fourth year, I still feel subconsciously homesick even when I don’t realize it. I find myself texting my family constantly about what I’m eating, what movie or show I just finished and how my day went. It’s these small things that ground me from becoming really homesick.

Living in Toronto can feel a bit isolating at times, but if you ever feel homesick, just know you’re not alone and this feeling never lasts forever. From my own experiences, distracting yourself is the best thing to do. Here are my tips for overcoming homesickness in the big city!

Connect with your Family and Friends

Though it may seem like you’re annoying your family and friends - you’re not. Moving away from home is a big step and I’m sure many of your friends and family understand or can relate. You can call, text and FaceTime them. You can also send memes, TikToks, funny videos and playlists to stay in touch.

Make New Friends

I know talking to new people may seem daunting, but it’s really not. Regardless of what year you’re in for your post-secondary studies, it’s always nice to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you in class. 

However, in a virtual world, it is difficult to make friends in online classes. Making or joining a study group can be beneficial for you. And if you're living in a student residence, talk to the people around you, like your neighbours or people in the dining hall. Everyone is just as nervous––if not, more. Striking up a conversation with other students can help you make some great friends!

Find New Hobbies

There are so many hobbies you can have, from drawing, playing video games, reading, painting, bird watching and more. Find something you enjoy doing! Alternatively, you could also join a club or a sports team!

Explore the City

This is the ultimate ‘distract yourself’ activity. You’re living in Toronto of all places - go out and explore it! The whole city is your playground! We have the CN Tower, The AGO, the Rogers Centre, The Distillery District and many other sites! You can even find good deals on admission prices.

Plan a trip to explore the city with friends or by yourself. The best memories are often made from spontaneous plans!

Buy Food and Cook Meals that Remind you of Home

I find that cooking meals I usually have at home helps when I’m feeling homesick. I know it’s not going to be your mom’s home cooking, but it’s the next best thing. And you will also be learning a new skill at the same time! 

If you’re a student stuck on a residence meal plan, opt for buying snacks that remind you of home!

Stay Busy!

Don’t forget what you moved to Toronto for! Stay on top of your studies by planning your assignments ahead of time to avoid missing deadlines. 

Binge Watch Movies and TV Shows

I might be biased, but this always distracts me from my homesickness. There are so many different types of media available at your fingertips!


I hope these tips make living away from home a little bit easier. Don’t let homesickness take over your university experience! By the time you graduate, you’ll have memories that you made yourself in the big city.

Sabrina Wong

Toronto MU '22

Sabrina is a fourth year student in the Media Production program. She has a passion for film, TV, Broadway, pop culture and everything in between! She currently co-hosts a podcast called “Ghosted”, where she and her co-host talk about Canadian ghost hauntings in their hometowns. When she’s not writing, she’s probably listening to Taylor Swift on repeat.
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