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

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By Renata Ajkai

Erasmus is a lifestyle, which I suppose many people know, and if they don’t yet, they should get to know it at one point in their student life. It is most times easy to get familiar and comfortable with this lifestyle, but it’s very hard to say goodbye to this behaviour.During your Erasmus you get to know a lot of people around the world, you make friends and sometimes you even find love during your staying.You also party often, get to know how to administer your money and how to live on your own or with other nations in a foreign country. Bottom-line, you learn a lot and accumulate a lot of experience.

But Erasmus also has a difficult side…it is the part of saying goodbye…when you must go back home, you must go back to your earlier life which will feel strange for you at the beginning…you go back to your family, your country and have to leave your new life and your new friends behind. You must go back to reality.

How to overcome your post Erasmus depression

A lot of former Erasmus students think, after the scholarship, 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, the students get psychological counselling to help them detach from the dream world.

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In the beginning of the return 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 the 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 in this style and I have to also enjoy life at home again.

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 a bit 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. I quickly joined this group. 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 learning the Hungarian language, travelling,party and international events almost every day, so that they could never be bored. I became a mentor for them and I very much enjoyed doing it. I made a lot of friends again with whom I still keep in touch.

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

It was a very good idea to organise 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 to show them where you live or u can also visit them in their home country. And you can always go back to the Erasmus University later for an abroad Master Programme, even benefiting from the Erasmus Mundus scholarship for doing your Master abroad

Make your experience matter

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

Your Erasmus experience can and should benefit you even after you are back home. Try to make the most out of it both during and after that period. Transform whatever you learn during Erasmus into new opportunities for experience and networking and let your Erasmus time be an ice-breaker, an inspiration and a base for your European life-style.

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So don’t forget, saying goodbye is very hard, but with endeavours like I mentioned as examples above, you can continue enjoying that way of life and even more important, you can contribute to making other people, other Erasmus students happy like you were and give them the opportunity to develop themselves and grow into open-minded, aware and capable young people.

I hope my little story helped and, if it did, check out some other of my articles!