So I’m back in England. Welcomed by rain and temperatures of an ‘amicable’ 17 degrees celsius (that’s cold, thank you very much), plane delays and the transpennine express. It’s nice, being back in a country where I don’t have any communication problems (other than people telling me to ‘talk louder’), but it still feels like I’ve left something behind or like my right arm is missing. The ‘home from a year abroad’ feeling. That odd ‘displacement’.
It’s kind of like ‘post-concert/festival/holiday depression’, but so much more intense. It can also be really difficult to deal with – talking to a lot of students that have studied abroad has shown me that – but there are ways that you can lessen the blow from ‘crippling emotional turmoil’ to ‘an easy transition between countries’.
1: Don’t compare the countries
It’s really easy to constantly compare one country to the other just after a move, as you readjust (or just adjust) to life in your new place. ‘It wasn’t like this in…’, ‘the weather was so much better in…’. It’ll just make you miss the old country more, and you won’t appreciate the quirks and characteristics of the ‘new’ place. Which is sad, because every country is pretty exciting.
2: Keep busy
Not having anything to do will give you time to dwell on all the things you’re potentially ‘missing out on’ in the country you spent your time abroad in – and that feeling sucks. So keep busy. Meet people you haven’t seen in ages, do things you didn’t get to do abroad (I didn’t get to bake for a whole year, fixing that as I type…). Go to places that you missed. Keep busy.
3: See ‘going home’ as a good thing.
Sure, returning to the homeland is going to be hard, you’ve been with new people, new friends, new experiences for a really long time and part of the reason you even went abroad was because it was exciting and new. But slapping a label on ‘going home’ and seeing it as a bad thing can make adjusting really hard. I only really came to terms with leaving Seoul once I realised that going back to England was actually going to be really awesome. I have a lot coming up in the next year, and a lot of opportunities that are only really available to me in the UK. All these things were completely overshadowed for a bit by my sadness over leaving Korea – which was terrible! It made everything so much worse. As soon as I remembered all the awesome things, and saw going back to the UK as the newest ‘chapter’ in my life, I felt so much better.
4: Keep in contact
It wasn’t hard to keep in contact with your friends at home when you were abroad, and it really isn’t hard to keep in contact with people abroad when you’re at home. Skype is a wonderful invention, social media is too. It’s just making the effort to maintain friendships.
5: It’s all about how you look at things
Really, the best way to deal with ‘coming home’ is to keep a positive outlook on your situation. Look back on your time with fondness and look forwards with an open mind. If you miss the place you were a ridiculous amount, then make plans to return in any holiday time that you have!