You are home, scared of leaving on your (first) great adventure. That was such a long time ago, right? Now you know how silly it was to be afraid of the best time you’ve ever had so far. Admit it or not, this experience has changed you and shaped you in the person you are today.
But it’s already time to leave it behind. To go back home and return to “real life”. As you will come to notice, this is easier said than done. If you have truly immersed yourself into the Erasmus experience, you will once again feel like you are abandoning your home and your family. Sure, you are happy and excited to meet relatives and friends. However, the first few weeks back home may not make you feel as happy as you’ve imagined.
Read on if you are curious to find out if the infamous Post-Erasmus depression’s got a hold on you.
You feel like an alien in your own motherland
“I never thought I'd have to adjust in my own town, my own house and my own bedroom.”
You came home after what seemed both an eternity and a single second. Your family and friends are finally more than a voice or a screen image. Yet, this all looks too strange to comprehend. You might as well feel like you fell from Mars. Or even Pluto. Switching back to “home mode” requires far more effort than you have expected.
And in case you’d spent most of your time not sticking with your country-mates, mingling around other nationalities, your native language sounds foreign at first. Isn’t it weird that all these people speak the same language which on top of that you understand completely?
Messenger is your new best friend
“Distance means so little when friends mean so much.”
Admit it, you probably spend far more time on social networks than you would like to. Well, now that all the people you spent the last one or two semesters with are abroad, you can hardly avoid Messenger and Whatsapp. The first few weeks will be a clutter of chat heads and constant ding-ding sounds.
Unfortunately, keeping in touch is not as easy when everybody goes back to their usual lifestyle. Messages will slowly get less and less but the true friendships will stay alive regardless of the distance and how busy you are.
Life seems too ordinary
“We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.”
Some people leave on Erasmus because of their CV and some do because they are hungry for change and new experiences. Whichever the reason, the time spent abroad can hardly be forgotten. So many new people, places and parties. Nobody would ever leave you out of the fun unless you wanted so.
Going back to the old and familiar is not easy when you became used to everything being new and fresh. The University, the professors, the classes, the food, the friendships.
Home is still the same, but you are not.
You experience a severe form of wanderlust
“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”
If the travel bug has not bitten you before Erasmus, then it has surely not spared you afterwards. Trips organized by ESN and on your own showed you the beauty of the region you chose for your exchange. You saw mobility as a lifestyle.
And once you start traveling, quitting does not seem like an option, does it? Especially now that you have friends all over the globe, living in some of your dream destinations. In the end, you’ve come to realize traveling is not as difficult and as expensive as it may seem and you can’t wait to hop on your next adventure.
You literally can’t stop talking about Erasmus
“Erasmus is not one year in your life but your life in one year.”
If you count how many times you will mention the word “Erasmus” in the first few weeks after you come home, the numbers will probably stun you. Everybody is curious of the adventure and you are more than willing to share every aspect of it. And since it became such an important and integral part of your life, you will continue mentioning it years after it has come to an end.
Moreover, it is highly likely that you will go around, shouting to everyone you meet “Hey you! Go on Erasmus! It’s amazing, you won’t regret it!
Your Erasmus is over, but don’t worry - these are not the signs of a gloomy ending of a golden age. This is just the beginning of a new one. The opportunities ahead of you are now greater than ever before: you can visit your friends, become a member of ESN, find a job abroad.
And remember - it doesn’t matter how much time has passed, your experience is already an inseparable part of you - “Once Erasmus, always Erasmus!”