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When Erasmus friendships are never the same again

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Reading time: 3 minutes
You come back home after your Erasmus and you think you have just made friends for life. But what if this is not the case?
Cafe Regatta in Helsinki
Cafe Regatta in Helsinki

Yes, I know. You arrived at your Erasmus destination with super high expectations about the new friends you would make on this new adventure and... they were fulfilled! You made great friends with whom you shared laughs, tears, jokes, parties... In short, incredible moments that you will carry with you forever.

 

And finally, you return home and everything around you reminds you of them and all the seconds you lived together. Nostalgia accompanies you in your day-to-day life, but you are left with the hope that it will all be the same in the distance. You promise to make video calls every few days, exchange messages daily, and, for the most enthusiastic, see each other in person at least once a year in each other's country.

 

But you soon realise that this is not the case. You barely send each other messages, replies take longer to arrive, and video calls... not a single one. All you get is a 'sad' like on an Instagram story. You feel disappointed, you think you've wasted your time and the bonds you have built are not worth it.  If you identify with my words, I feel sorry. I know it is super hard, but let me tell you that this is all part of the process and it is completely normal. It has happened to me and it has surely happened to many more former Erasmus students (because I hope I am not the only person on this planet to have gone through this). When I was looking for answers to everything I was feeling, I read that the first thing I had to do to get over it was to assume that this experience would never happen again.

 

To a certain extent, this is true. But I didn't like the idea of coming to terms with something that was making me feel so bad at the time. That's why I like to use the word ‘embrace' better. Accepting that something has happened and being grateful for it. Steve Jobs once shared one of his secrets to having an open mind in the business world: "You can't connect the dots by looking forward; you can only connect them by looking backwards." This idea is perfectly transferable to one's own life. I reflected and he was right: you cannot go forward without stopping to think about what has brought you to be here, in the present.

 

That is why this is the best advice I could give you. Probably now, when your Erasmus has just ended, you do not see it. You may think that this sounds too easy or that it is crazy because the adventure has been so intense that it is impossible to forget. Yes, it
is true. But as the days and months go by, you will end up agreeing with me.

 

Because I thought so too. I did not understand how it could all end like this: barely hearing from each other when we spent every day together, not even hearing a simple 'how are you' in days, when we used to all hang out together... But that's life. We come back to finish our respective degrees, start looking for jobs, catch up, and spend time with the family and friends we left here before embarking on the Erasmus...

 

So, dear reader, stop for a moment. Look back, remember all the beautiful things that have just happened to you, take advantage of them, and nourish yourself with them. Laugh and cry. And embrace it. Now that you are in the present, you know that you cannot change it, but it is in your power to move forward.

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