The Post-Erasmus Depression

Beth poses with fellow exchange students in Prague.

Written by  February 1, 2013

I have now been back in Canada for a month. I've been waiting around for something big to happen, a crazy feeling of loss or shock—but nothing has happened.

I'm not sure if it's my awareness of reverse culture shock or if I'm good at dealing with change—I can’t quite put my finger on it.

I really miss my friends and the cheap travel in Prague and Europe, but home really isn't so bad. I know a lot of people who are having the so-called “post-Erasmus depression” and hate being home, but I’m trying to make the best of the situation and use what I learned abroad to make life here more enjoyable.

I'm in my last semester of my degree; I'm getting really involved with volunteering and have picked up a part-time job. I definitely think being busy helps and trying to see the positives of the situation and using what you learned overseas. The biggest difference I feel personally is the way I look at things. The experience of Prague kind of came and went, but the way I feel and look at things now will last forever.

I have been trying to keep busy so I don’t get bored and I’ve even been getting some travel in there, too. From February 1 to 3, I will be attending the AIESEC Canada Regional Conference in Montréal with members from AIESEC chapters across the country (well, the Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic region).

One really cool thing that has helped being back at home is that I have volunteered as a buddy for international students at my business school. I was matched with a guy from the Czech Republic so I have been able to talk about Prague, share my experience and also provide someone with help, just as I was. I like to think of him as my little piece of Prague while at home!

Ways to Conquer Reverse Culture Shock

• Keep yourself busy! It’s hard to get down and sad about all the things you are missing when you don’t have the time to think about them. Not that you should hide your feelings, but finding something you love will help combat them.

• Get involved with an internationally focused organization so you can share your experiences abroad and help educate others about your time.

• Look at other ways you can travel in and around your own city. I am sure as a local there are many “tourist” things you never considered seeing in your city, so go see them!

• Find a volunteer organization that has the opportunity to go to conferences so that you can go meet new people just like you did while you were studying abroad.

• Start a blog, a social media site or contribute to forums. It is always a great feeling when you can share your experience and help others who may not be as experienced as you are. I am sure you are probably reading this right now because you are looking for advice and insight on studying abroad and appreciate the help from my experience; do the same and share your knowledge.

Try not to see the downside of coming back to reality. Use your newfound knowledge to help better your time at home and future experiences and learn from the learning and growing you did while you were away. Studying abroad is probably the best thing you’ve ever done—so far. Use that knowledge now to make even better experiences down the road and continually have the best experiences you’ve ever had!

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Beth Saunders

Beth Saunders is a young Nova Scotian who studied Commerce at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. During a semester abroad at the University of Economics in Prague, Beth shares her overseas adventures with us.

Website: bethsaunders.wordpress.com/

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