While it may not be a recognised medical condition, that glum feeling you get when you return to your home university is definitely normal, and something that every Ex-Erasmus student experiences. Right? In our new series, you can follow our author’s way back into ‘normal-life’ after an eventful year abroad.
By Elinor Terry
Hello, my name is Elinor and I’m an abroad-oholic. I returned from my year abroad just over a month ago and, I have to admit, I’m experiencing some withdrawal symptoms. I spent my entire placement year in Berlin, drinking beer, singing karaoke and meeting some of the most intriguing people on the U-Bahn. In case you can’t tell, I miss it enormously. In the past month I have been thrust back into my old life, with my old university and friends…and it couldn’t be any more different than my time abroad! It doesn’t help that, in addition to relocating, I am now faced with the one of the most difficult and stressful years of my degree.
To be plucked out of the thirty-degree heat of an Indian summer in Berlin and placed back into a city, which feels both extremely familiar and slightly altered, is enough to sink anyone into a psychological slump. For many returning British students, this adjustment is made even more difficult by the mountain of final year work thrust upon us and the stress of our fast-approaching graduation. With the ominous cloud of our future floating overhead, we have to immediately fall back into line and replace the Blabla cars and Club Mate, with a postgraduate prospectus and job interview skills.
Maybe I am being slightly dramatic: I am living in a city that was my home for two years, with two great girls, who have also been abroad and understand what I’m going through. On top of that, my time abroad will definitely help me with my job prospects and I’ve met loads of wonderful, new friends, who I can always go and visit after I finish my degree. So, why am I spending so much time focussing on the negatives, and am I the only one?
This million-dollar question is the one that I want to focus on: As a writer, I have always felt that the best way to tackle any obstacle is to write about it and, after a couple of hundred words, things slowly start to become a little less foggy. Most of the discussion, surrounding the Erasmus community nowadays, is focussed on the pressure of having “the perfect year abroad” and the feelings of guilt associated when this isn’t the case. But what happens when your year abroad was perfect, or as close to perfection as you could have wanted? What happens to the travellers who return feeling dejected, having created a home and a family in a new country? The boyfriends leaving girlfriends, or the housemates who don’t know when they will see each other again? These emotions are often overlooked and we are left to deal with them on our own.
Luckily, all of these pressing questions, alongside my muddled emotions, will join together in this series. Coming to terms with my “post-Erasmus blues” is something I’m very excited to get started with and, hopefully, by chatting with fellow returners in the Erasmus community, we can together formulate a magical, and much needed, antidote in the next few weeks.