The Worst Part About Study Abroad

I’ve spent this whole blog explaining exactly how and why Erasmus is the best thing you will do. But there is one down side to the experience – you have to come home. Before you go

away you will have a talk about how to cope with new environments and culture shock, those of you who are going in September will already have had this (trying not to sound too jealous!). I was lucky enough not to experience this much. However, you should have exactly the same expectations coming home. You won’t realise until you come home exactly how long 9 months can be and how weird it may feel to come home. While there are areas of life you will feel like you never left, for me, at least there was a very strange feeling that I was back for good. So this blog post is an explanation of what to expect and ways I found to cope with it.

The first few days you are home there will no doubt be some excitement around you, family will be happy to see you; you’ll be going out with friends again for the first time. Enjoy your moment in the spotlight, you might get a free drink or two out of it! But once you’ve seen everyone again you can be met by the reality that this is it – you’re not going anywhere soon! If you are anything like me you’ll immediately start googling flights to the home towns of all your new friends, before checking the bank balance and putting those things on hold. Which brings me to my first coping technique – get a job! No doubt Erasmus has scrapped any savings you once had (with no regrets) so any form of income is probably top of your list. However this doesn’t just have a financial benefit, it also gives you a routine. Sitting about the house during the days won’t make you feel entirely positive about being back home – getting a job will give you a routine and something to do with your endless summer.

Your budget probably can’t stretch to a holiday at this time but instead of jealously flicking through your friends ‘legs or hotdogs’ photos of Facebook, start taking advantage of your new friends’ hospitality. Start small and save as much as possible. If you made any friends from the UK nearby, think about visiting them for a weekend. Get some cheap flights and a sofa to sleep on and there you are – Erasmus may have used up your savings but the contacts you made will save you a lot in the future! Personally I am off to Dublin in a few weeks all for £40.

While Erasmus did involve university work, you may also be worried about coming back to Glasgow with a higher workload, especially since your final year counts for so much. My advice for this is to be prepared – you will no doubt have some free time in the summer so get your head down and prepare. Think about the reality of the work you did last semester. I know, for me, many of the assessments were essay based so I am out of practice of memorising things for exams therefore I aim to start September prepared to put the effort in. Depending on your subject this may mean starting studying or researching your dissertation subject during the summer. You’ll thank yourself later!

On a more practical level, your life will be made significantly easier if you get on top of the paper work. On leaving, ensure you have your leaving certificate and final learning agreement signed. A few weeks before you leave it may be worth visiting student services and check what their policy is on leaving certificates. Helsinki University had a latest date they would sign them before you left. Once you are home and have all your grades you will have to convert your grades and get an official transcript from the University. Before you leave the University you may wish to clarify what the process is for ordering an official transcript by post.

Coming home will be amazing and exciting but it may also feel weird. You may even feel homesick!   Best way to adapt is to through yourself back into life at home, keep contact with your new friends and stay organised about University life and paperwork.

All that said, I am clearly not coping that well myself as I write this en route back to Helsinki as a stop-over in a family holiday!!

Any questions, as ever, please email me –


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