A year ago you were off trekking through Europe. Backpacking across New Zealand. Exploring the beaches of Thailand.
Now you’re sitting in the back of a lecture hall, trying not to scream every time someone uploads a new picture to their “Adventures in Spain” album.
Sigh. Welcome to the world of the ex-study abroad student.
Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain.
Before you hopped on your flight, your program sent you packet after packet, offering advice on living with a host parent, studying in a foreign school and how to adjust your schedule around siesta hours.
But those packets don’t tell you what to expect when you arrive back home — especially when Facebook makes it simple to relive your semester over and over again.
Nothing made the post-abroad blues any clearer than a conversation with a friend last week. We met up to study on campus, but when I sat down at our table, tears were brimming in her eyes.
“Don’t panic,” I said. “We’ll do fine on this exam.”
She wiped a tear and closed her laptop. “It’s not the midterm,” she said. “I just spent the last hour and a half image-searching Madrid.”
Luckily, there are ways to get around post-travel depression. If you’re one of the thousands of college students who’re trying to adjust to life on campus, check out these tips:
1. Write the pain away.
Hey, if Hemingway could do it, so can you.
If you find yourself daydreaming about those mountains in Zurich or that hang-gliding tour you took of Granada, grab a pen and start jotting it all down.
You just lived in a city for six months — use that knowledge to boost your resume. And be sure to submit your photos — sharing them is way better than just staring at them for an hour instead of listening to your Statistics lecture.
2. Meet up with your ex-Parisians. Or Madrileños. Or Tokyoites.
If you’re lucky enough to have members of your program on campus, meet up with them. Sounds simple enough, but even planning a dinner night can give you the chance to reminisce with people who actually have been to all the Metro stops you keep name dropping.
If you don’t have any of your fellow study abroad-ers on your campus, set aside time for a Skype date with your ex-expats. Giving yourself just an hour or two to indulge in all things Europe will be more relieving than just complaining to your roommates — and hey, they’ll probably appreciate it too.
3. Plan your next escapade.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of hopping on a bus and suddenly arriving in Portugal or Italy. If you find yourself unable to sit still after a jet-setting semester, plan out your trip.
Consider teaching English abroad after graduation or or try your hand at Couchsurfing or WWOOFing, which links volunteers with organic farmers, giving you the chance to work for room and board. Bonus points for being able to obsess over a new city once you find a place to go.
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