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Life After Erasmus: How to Overcome Your Post Erasmus Depression Student experiences

By Renata Ajkai

When you go to study abroad through an Erasmus exchange programme, you’ll discover it’s not just a study experience, it will become your lifestyle. If you’ve been an Erasmus student, you already know that. For the rest of you, who haven’t been through the life-changing experience of studying abroad, even for a short while, you should definitely try it at one point in your student life.

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More reasons that will convince you to study abroad.

During your Erasmus, you get to know a lot of people worldwide, you make friends and sometimes, you even find love during your stay. You also party often, get to know how to administer your money, how to live on your own or how to communicate and share your home with students with a totally different culture.

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Bottom-line, you learn a lot about the world outside your home and that’s a great thing to know.

Here are some popular countries for an Erasmus exchange programme:

But Erasmus also has a difficult side: it is the part of saying goodbye, when you must go back home, return to your earlier life. This will feel strange for you at the beginning, even if you go back to your family and your home country which you have deeply missed. Leaving your new life and your new friends behind and coming back to reality is a difficult step for all international students.

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How to overcome your post-Erasmus depression

A lot of former Erasmus students think that the whole world stops and they cannot handle this situation, some of them even fall in a depression. That’s why at some universities, before leaving, students get psychological counselling to help them detach from the dream world.

When I came back home, it was the same for me as well. When I was first walking on the streets, I felt like I was a stranger in my own home, I felt like I didn’t know anybody anymore and that life is utterly boring. I felt I didn’t enjoy anything, and I just wanted to go back to my Erasmus life.

A few days later, I realized I cannot continue like this and that I have to start enjoying life at home again.

1. Do a fun activity or help out other international students!

So I realized that I could, for example, continue learning Polish, as my ERASMUS exchange was in Poland. I started to look for a teacher, which was not an easy endeavour, but in the end, I managed, and I started attending Polish language lessons twice a week.

I was lucky as I was in the last year of my university studies by that time, and I also could keep busy with studying, graduation, my university practice and my thesis. I started meeting my university classmates and friends again and realised I’ve missed their company.

Soon, I realized that in my city there are also a lot of Erasmus students, so I started looking for them and I found out about the existence of a group who helps foreign students. With this step, my life was a bit closer to my Erasmus experience again. I shared my story and together with the other group members we helped the foreign students in my city to fit in, we organized various programmes for them, as well as helped them with learning the Hungarian language.

We organised travelling, parties and international events almost every day, so that they could never get bored. I became a mentor for them and I very much enjoyed doing it. I made a lot of friends again.

Here's why studying abroad is better than studying in your home town.

2. Keep in touch with your Erasmus friends!

Besides these activities, I also kept communicating with my friends from Poland. Some of them went back to their countries and started working and I needed to do that as well. So I started searching for a workplace.

After a while, I organised a reunion with my Erasmus group from Poland. We gathered all together and travelled back to the dream-world of the Erasmus times, doing the things we used to, visiting the favourite places, eating the favourite food. If you are close to your Erasmus friends, you can also invite them to your country, show them where you live or you can also visit them in their home country.

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3. Embark on a new study adventure and apply for a full Master’s degree

You can always go back to the university where you studied during your Erasmus for a Master’s programme abroad, or maybe decide to go somewhere else.

You might even benefit from the Erasmus Mundus scholarship or other types of funding.

Check this list of affordable countries to study abroad.

This time, you’ll be spending two years in your desired study abroad location and with your previous experience, you’ll adjust much faster and know how to make the most of your study adventure.

Completing an international Master’s degree will have a positive impact not just upon your state of spirit, but you’ll earn a specialisation and increase your chances for a successful career. Employers always appreciate candidates with some kind of international experience.

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Make your experience matter

To conclude my story, I want to give you a piece of advice:

Your study abroad experience can and should benefit you even after you are back home. Try to make the most out of both: during and after that period. Transform whatever you learn into new opportunities and networking. Let your international degree be an ice-breaker, an inspiration and a base for your new mindset and lifestyle.

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So don’t forget! Saying goodbye is very hard, but you can continue enjoying that way of life and even more important, you can also contribute and make other foreign students happy like you were and give them the opportunity to develop themselves and grow into open-minded, aware and capable young people.