Homesickness at school camp affects many students, particularly younger students. If you find yourself worrying about being homesick before camp or whilst on camp, please know that this is very normal and there are some simple things you can do to prevent or minimise it.
What is homesickness?
Homesickness is when you miss certain aspects of your home life. There are a large range of things students miss when they are homesick and these can include:
Five ways you can help prevent the effects of homesickness before camp
- Family – parents, brothers and sisters
- Friends, particularly if they are not in your camp group
- Lifestyle – home cooking, your bedroom and bathroom, technology and general household routine
- Freedom – particularly after school when you may have less bells and expectations
Five tips to help you manage homesickness whilst on camp
- Try and do some sleepovers at friends or relatives’ homes before the camp. If you find this hard, try at least staying at their place until quite late so you are getting used to staying in a different environment and with a different routine.
- If you know your accommodation on camp is in a tent, hutchie or tarpaulin, set up a similar scenario in your backyard and practise sleeping in one of these.
- Try to familiarise yourself with where you are going.
- Talk with other students who have successfully been on camp and find out what strategies they used.
- Talk with someone about your fears before you go. Sometimes we can let our fears overtake our rational thinking and talking with someone such as a parent or counsellor can help you see the situation differently and more positively.
If you find yourself homesick whilst on camp, the following tips might help:
- Talking to people at your camp about being homesick. These may include your camp leader or a teacher.
- Keep busy. Playing with your mates and doing the camp activities are ways of taking your mind off your homesickness and can make things easier.
- Invite friends from your group along to explore the camp location with you. Making friends is a big step to alleviating homesickness.
- If you are allowed to, listen to the radio or music when you go to bed. This is the time when most students feel homesick and the radio or music may distract you.
- Speak with your camp leader about having one of your mates in your tent with you. Having a good friend next to you can make a big difference.
Missing home can be tough for both parents/guardians and students. If you are homesick, remember to talk to staff members or students who are prepared to listen.
Keep busy and get involved with all the school has to offer. If you have not made some friends yet, get out a make some! Have fun – it is the best cure to homesickness you can get.