30/06/2014 10:58 BST | Updated 30/08/2014 06:59 BST

Returning From a Year Abroad - The Survival Guide

So you've just had the best year of your life. Literally the best. You've met some amazing people, had so many unique experiences and seen some incredible things. You've come back a changed person with a new perspective on life and want to tell the whole world about it. The trouble is, the whole world isn't that interested. They'll ask, 'how was your year abroad?' hoping for a single sentence rather than a detailed account of every night out you had in the last 12 months. Now you're back in your dull, non-life changing native country, it's time to learn how to fit back in, while still holding onto those memories of that unforgettable year abroad.


Image Courtesy of Ariunbold Khuyag via Flickr

First, the basics. Never ever start sentences with 'On my year abroad,' never bring it up yourself, or try to slip it into the current conversation. To avoid boring everyone you know, only ever talk about it if asked and keep your monologue answers to a maximum of 2 minutes.

Next, try to hold on to those memories by keeping in touch with all those incredible people you've met, they'll be the only ones that are interested and staying friends with them means that you'll have so many people to visit in the future from all over the world. You'll all be feeling as fragile about the shock of being home so talk to each other about it and reminisce.

On the other hand, keeping in touch with your new friends doesn't mean losing your old ones. Try to remember what you used to talk about before you only talked about your year abroad and bond over those topics with them. Take an interest in what they've done this year, even if they did only stay in one country- maybe they'll inspire you to find something great about the UK.

You'll find that Britain isn't actually that boring, carry on looking at life through the eyes of an exchange student, visit the tourist attractions, keep exploring and say yes to everything. To help you do this, try getting touch with students that are coming to your home uni from where you've been, as telling them about all the great things to see and do will help you realise that being home is actually ok. It's also good to get in touch with the students that are going on the same year abroad next year, you can put all your knowledge and passion to good use and answer the many questions that they'll have.

If you're still struggling to adjust and have some money left over, continuing travelling may also be a good plan. You'll still be in the carefree travel mode and you might as well enjoy yourself, you've probably got a whole year of studying left where you can try and get back into normal life again. Another good idea is to add some cultural touches from your year abroad into your life, being amongst Danish minimalistic living has inspired me to clear out my wardrobe and room completely and make everything 'hygge' (cosy) by putting candles everywhere.

Try all these things and see what works best for you. If it all gets too much and you still feel like a massive part of you has been ripped out, just lock your door, put that 'year abroad song' on repeat and cry until someone gets sick of you and ships you back.