Post Study Abroad Depression is a very real problem amongst students returning to their homeland, and it is useful to be aware of the effects and know how to treat or even prevent it from happening in the first place.
Study abroad students feel culture shock no matter where they spend their study abroad program. Things are unfamiliar and that can be scary. You need to learn a different way of living from day to day. But because it’s a new land and you’re fully aware it’s going to be different from your own, you’re more prepared for those differences and often excited to experience them.
But they might experience that same shock in reverse upon their return home.
The thrill of adventure that comes with travel feels completely lost upon returning home. This change might feel like a step back.
- Spending unusual amounts of time searching for opportunities to move or travel abroad long term.
- Talking constantly about your time abroad.
- Comparing everything to your travels or the foreign country where you studied abroad.
- Criticizing the way things are done and home and others for being “close-minded.”
- Loss of attention towards things you used to enjoy, like going to coffee shops with friends, sports and more.
- Not wanting to get to know new people at home or be involved in non-work or school activities.
- Rapid weight gain or loss.
- Fear to leave your house, because you don’t feel like you fit in anymore.
- Feeling worried that you’ll never have the chance to travel abroad again.
Face the symptoms head on. If you are spending a lot of time looking into travel or opportunities abroad, be proactive and actually make that happen. Create a travel goal, start taking the steps to achieving that goal rather than just looking at “ways out”.
Remember that characteristics of one culture to the next are not better or worse, just different, and that includes your own. Be open to what is happening at home with your friends and your own life. The people around you will want to hear about your experience abroad and just because they don’t know something about a place you’ve traveled to doesn’t make them close-minded, just the perfect candidate to learn something new. Put extra effort in being involved in your studies, work, and extracurricular activities. Try something new, go out, engage in conversations with new people as well as with old friends.
It will be hard in the beginning, but you’ll remember the things you loved about life at home in the first place and maybe even form relationships, a routine and/or hobbies incorporating your life abroad into your life at home. And of course, there’s always the option of studying abroad a second time, even if it’s just a month-long summer study abroad program or two weeks on your spring break, it might be just the thing you need to help you get over your post study abroad blues.
If you are returning home from studying abroad try the following to prevent:
- Decide on your next travel goal or ambition, like an internship.
- Become involved in travel or international groups on campus.
- Keep in touch with study abroad friends.
- Focus on getting healthy through your diet and exercise.
- Talk to your friends and family.
- Change things at home to adjust to the new you. Travel changes people. You may discover something about yourself or how you want to live your life while studying abroad.
- Share your experience in fun ways.
And, no worries, we are sure you will travel abroad soon… Enjoy your time in your own country with the people you know best and love the most, because you’ll be off on the road again in no time.
More information at: www.gooverseas.com