The Post Erasmus Depression

Zwolle, Netherlands

The city of Zwolle (Photo: Catherine Talbot)

There’s a great saying: “an exchange isn’t a year in your life – it’s a life in a year”. It couldn’t be more accurate. It almost feels like it was a dream. I fitted so much into my time that it’s hard to believe I wasn’t there for years. I would have it no other way; after all, no one remembers the nights you stayed in and had a lot of sleep.

But after spending an incredible six months in The Netherlands, it was time to pack up and move back home with reality greeting me. Suddenly, the life you grew used to and the people that became your family are just another chapter of your life placed on a shelf, leaving you with one thing – the grand ‘Erasmus Depression’.

It’s something we were all warned about, and after being back home for two weeks, I now completely understand why we were warned.

lake in Netherlands

The Lake. (Photo: Catherine Talbot)

I met some of the loveliest people on my Erasmus journey, who shared moment after moment with me in a beautiful city. The friends I made taught me more than they could ever imagine about both the world and about myself. Admittedly, they were absolutely bonkers, but they made for one hell of an interesting journey and for that I am eternally grateful.

 

On Erasmus, there are no limitations. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in not only the culture of the host country, but of the cultures surrounding you from the international friends you’ve made.

It’s a chance to try things you would never usually try with people who aren’t going to judge you if it all goes terribly wrong.

It’s a chance to try new foods, listen to new music, learn new languages and have a whole lot of fun doing it. The people you do all this with quickly become family and leaving each other at the end isn’t easy.

One good thing about coming home is sharing the stories and knowing that you’ve got friends all over the world – I have flights booked already to see my Swedish friends in a few months. “You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” It’s just an excuse to keep travelling!

Catherine's "family" in the Netherlands

My Zwolle family. (Photo: Catherine Talbot)

Looking back I really wouldn’t change a thing. I’ll remember this crazy experience for the rest of my life. I’ll remember my mad corridor that never went quiet, where the doors were always open and there was always something to do. I’ll remember the parties, the cycling, the lake trips in the sunshine and the incredible people I shared it all with.

Yes, it’s the end of a chapter, but I certainly am not closing the book.