So here we are, a week after I came back from Tübingen and I’ve only just mustered up the energy to write this post.
In all seriousness, coming home has definitely been the hardest part of being abroad; not exams, not going there – leaving. I don’t want to focus too much on the negatives, but I think there’s definitely a reason people (half-jokingly) call it post-Erasmus depression, and I’d advise some preparation before you go home; plan things to keep yourself busy within the first few days (seeing family, friends etc.), else you (like me) may end up moping around and feeling homesick for abroad.
However, looking back on the past year it’s been incredible. I wouldn’t change my experience for the world. I feel like I’ve grown in so many ways; I’ve met people from many different backgrounds, taken a vastly different range of courses than I’d be able to in Lancaster, and got in touch with my half-German side, meaning that I feel fairly confident speaking to my relatives now. I’ve traveled to different countries, seen people skating on the frozen river, figured out how to sort my rubbish correctly, realised that the Biomüll needs taking out at least every week, and that not all stereotypes are true (shout out to the number 4 bus, which was maybe on time twice).
Going abroad is not easy, it’s not always fun and it’s not always comfortable. It forces you out of your comfort zone, but that’s why it’s so beneficial. There will be great times, and probably some bad ones (these mostly coincide with periods of stress, I’ve found), but with a good support system in place and people around you, it’ll work out well.
Just a tip: don’t underestimate the power of social media at the beginning! Look for international groups, course groups etc. so you can find people to hang out with at the start of the semester.
Also: if you’re invited somewhere I would definitely advise going! You never know who you’ll meet, maybe they’ll be your best friends.
I know I’ll have a hard time piping down about my time abroad for a long while to come, because it’s what I’ve been used to for the last eleven months (but I think if I don’t I might lose all my friends; I don’t want to be that person).
I’d also like to thank everyone who’s made my time abroad the amazing year that it was; my flatmate who made me feel welcome, the Erasmus group that kept me sane in my first semester (fulle ska vi bli alle) with copious amounts of coffee, the ISCL guys (FrieFore, without whom I may not have passed some classes) who were my rocks in the second, and the first, semester, all the great people I met in my classes, and- thinking about it- pretty much everyone I met. Thank you all so much.
Finally, thank you for reading this! I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a glimpse of my year abroad- maybe it’s inspired you to go, or at least made you consider it. I’m sure this won’t be the last time you hear from me, so I guess we’ll talk… soon?