It’s spring, almost the end of May, and…your period of study exchange is approaching to an end – or in some cases has already ended. BAM! Yep, I will drop immediately the harsh truth, so that we can work our way up and see what can be done to overcome the feelings which may be assaulting you right now.
I don’t think I’m telling you anything unheard if I mention that you may be victim of the so called “post-Erasmus depression”. It is that particular state of gloominess that affect an exchange student once back home. One day, you are in a different reality, surrounded by people of the most different ethnicities, cultures and spirits (the latter intended both as attitudes and as distilled alcoholic beverages). The day after, you are back on the treadmill of your home country routine, surrounded by family and your old crew of friends, unexcitingly ‘normal’ again. This can lead to confusion: your room is not anymore “yours”, you realise that many things that seemed incredibly thrilling just a semester ago may not be so anymore, and ultimately, you seem to have evolved, but not everything that you found back home did so much.
But let’s not fall into despair, there are still things which can make us feel better! And I’m not talking of the usual paracetamol blister that Dutchies would offer you as a panacea: I will give you 5 good reasons why you should look at what you have accomplished and feel proud of yourselves at the end of this Utrecht experience.
- Let’s start from the didactic part: universities in Utrecht are not exactly a walk in the park, and yet you managed to attend classes and pass exams here, with a different teaching system and examination method (ok even if with different degree of success!). And all of this while also enjoying some surprising degree of social life.
- You survived to the schizophrenia of Dutch weather. Think about it: no atmospheric conditions will ever affect you anymore. You managed to ride fiercely your bicycles under the rain, and only to courageously reach your classes. And never been hit by a scooter.
- Speaking of this: do you actually realise how many difficulties that life thrown at you overcame? You found a house (more or less) all alone. You managed to do grocery and cook for yourself in kitchens which were more radioactive the Chernobyl and Fukushima combined.
- You managed to make friends with people speaking a language different from yours. And not just in order to be able to use their salt and pepper: you built a first network of contacts and friendship which will represent a formidable asset one day in life. Carrier-wise naturally, but also for having somebody hosting you for that obscure electronic music festival on the Balaton lake.
- Finally, relationships. If you had one before leaving and managed to keep it alive, kudos: you reached a level of maturity which proved how strong your will was. If you ceded…well what the heck, you were surrounded for months by beautiful specimens, and I’m sure you made the best out of it, and you are returning at home with bags of experience in this field!
Last but not least, if you met your sweetheart here and wants to make it continue even after the departure, I still can’t show but respect: the fact you prefer to stay with a person on the other side of Europe than with the guys or girls from your hometown, means no matter how it’ll end, it’s something quite unique. (just be careful with vodka, or your moral fibre may yield!)
And let me close with a final and more personal remark. It was an incredible pleasure to meet each and any single one of you: there is not such a thing as a boring international in this whole city, all of you rocked this place!