Reality check time: Erasmus is over
The end of your Erasmus programme might feel like the end of the world you currently live in, but the world after your Erasmus will be even better.
It is the beginning of June and for most people, the time has come for their Erasmus to end. There are only limited days remaining of the blissful Erasmus lifestyle and thinking about going back home and leaving all your Erasmus life behind will probably make your eyes water quicker than watching the end of Titanic.
It is no surprise that time flies when you are having fun and suddenly you might realise that there are still loads of things you have not had a chance to do during your Erasmus. One great way to accomplish many things in a short period of time is creating a bucket list of all the activities you still have not had a chance to do. Spending a night at the beach, making a good local friend, hitchhiking, and learning to cook local food are just some examples you can add to your list. A written list of feasible targets makes it easier to accomplish all those things in a short period of time and you can always invite your friends to join.
Eventually, it will still be time to go home. For people who lived their Erasmus to the fullest, the end of the programme can feel like the end of the world, when they have to leave all their new friends and loved ones behind. It might feel like there will never be any more weekly themed parties, movie nights, international dinners, etc. At least not as nice as the ones during your Erasmus. I can assure you that this feeling is perfectly natural and most students go through this so-called post-Erasmus depression. For some people, it can be a couple of days, while for others even a couple of months. The good thing is that you will get over it and quite possibly will soon start thinking about your next international trip or programme.
When you get back to your home country, everything might seem a bit odd and different in the beginning, although in reality not much has actually changed. The biggest change happened to you. I would advise all the students to take the time to reflect on themselves and what they gained during the exchange. If you received a Ph.D. in astrophysics, that’s great, if not, it is still good. In addition to the academic side, Erasmus has always had a „more human“ side. Sometimes the students also need to lose, search, and find themselves. For many students Erasmus is a great opportunity to learn about themselves while living in a new environment, meeting new people and challenging obstacles which all help to build personality. Sometimes the internal change may not be that significant or evident, but even if you just managed to break some prejudices about other cultures, it has already been a successful mobility programme.
The truth is that it would have probably been impossible to stay connected with all the people you met during your Erasmus and some people eventually will become distant to you, but nonetheless, I would advise you to invest in friendships because your best friends will not disappear from your life that easily. Especially during the era of Whatsapp, Skype, and Messenger, it is incredibly easy to stay involved in your friends’ everyday lives. We are the Erasmus generation and mobility has never been this easy: there are tons of opportunities to travel, study, and work with financial support from different European institutions. Think about where all those Erasmus babies and families come from. As a final thought, the Erasmus Impact Study showed that 93% of students who have completed their Erasmus exchange could easily imagine themselves living abroad in the future.
What are you waiting for?