It's difficult to prepare yourself for settling in when you arrive abroad - it depends entirely on who you meet, what your accommodation is like and whether or not your plans are going smoothly. This section is filled with advice, based on the experiences of previous students, on what to if you come across those most sneaky and unexpected of emotions: the Year Abroad Blues.
Hannah is studying French and Italian at the University of Salford, and is spending her year abroad studying in Forlì, Italy, and teaching in a collège lycée in Brittany, France. Here is her advice for keeping busy and avoiding boredom on your year abroad...
So you've just arrived at [insert destination], and after unpacking, re-shelving, turning around a couple of times on the same spot, you've noticed something is not quite right. It's not your second year room, Cassie isn't going to burst in your room offering a cup of tea and a chin-wag, and whatever way you try and look at it, your year abroad doesn't seem like such a great idea anymore.
‘The year abroad is a fantastic experience and I’d recommend it to everyone.’ Heard that before? Probably – it’s pretty much what all year abroad students say to everyone back home, and it’s true! But having a ‘fantastic experience’ doesn’t necessarily mean having ‘fantastic time’ all of the time. The truth is that for just about everybody who takes a year abroad, there are some pretty tough moments, and we all sometimes wonder ‘is it just me, or is everything not always croissants and chocolat chaud?’.
In all honesty, there will be times on your Year Abroad where you just want to curl up in a ball and teleport back to your nice comfy bed back home. There will be times when you find yourself hastily searching for flights, trains, ferries, Eurostars, anything to take you back home, to somewhere where you feel secure, organised, in control and, above all, at home. There will be times where you consider emailing your university and saying look, I just can’t do this (you can, by the way!). Finally, there will be times when you doubt your progress.