The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Avoiding the study abroad blues

Returning from a year abroad? James Johnson talks you through falling back in love with Manchester

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Partaking in a year abroad is a leap into the great unknown, and can be a daunting prospect for many. Grappling with new cultures and everyday experiences can be extremely exciting but equally unfamiliar, and while we would anticipate struggling during the first couple of weeks in a foreign land, we don’t give as much thought to when we return to our home country — we’ve lived here before, we know how it works, what could be difficult about that? However, this can be just as difficult, if not far more so.

Returning home after a great year of unrelenting tourism can seem a little bit of a step backwards. You’re likely to be thrilled that you’re reunited with your friends and family, but once all of the anecdotes beginning with “on my year abroad” have been told, you may find yourself experiencing a ‘reverse-culture-shock’. It can feel difficult, but it need not be — welcome back to one of the world’s greatest cities!

If you’re returning from a year abroad, you’re likely to have lived here in Manchester for at least a year or two. You’re also likely to feel as though you know everything there is to know about Manchester. Thankfully, you’re coming back to one of the most dynamic places in the world. Take a trip home for a month or two and you’re likely to find a mass of new coffee shops, public events, and shops have sprung up, almost out of nowhere.

Fall back in love with your city! 

There really is no limit to the number of different things to do and see while you’re in Manchester. You may have lived here for quite some time, but there is likely to be a checklist of things you’ve never actually gotten around to. Perhaps you drive past the Whitworth every day without going inside, or perhaps there’s a part of town you’ve yet to check out. Either way, the sheer variety on your doorstep is likely to help that transition back to your hometown, helping you to continue to discover new things and experiences, just like during your year abroad.

Chances are if you studied abroad at a beautiful foreign institution, you’ve been surrounded by stunning Canadian vistas or glorious continental European architecture whilst undertaking new classes. The thought of returning to a corner of the library’s blue section can seem a little underwhelming so — change it up! The university’s campus is strewn with gorgeous and underused study spots for you to take advantage of. Try writing up your lecture notes in The Manchester Museum’s study space, or revise for your January exams in Christie’s Bistro in the old quadrangle.

Coming back to your home institution after a year abroad is a difficult transition that many fail to anticipate, but it really doesn’t have to be as gloomy as it seems! Get involved, change it up and fall back in with the city that you can’t help but love.