Surfing on the net I found this article. It seemed to me particularly interesting to analyze this fact, as I actually spent 2 years studying abroad and since I came back home I have been feeling quite blue.
Articles on the Erasmus experience have mushroomed lately, as the European exchange programme is now 20 years old.
Actually my own experience was quite different from the one described as the typical Erasmus holiday year, as I went to France on a bi-national degree programme that is extremely demanding and requires lots of work. I cannot say that I didn’t experience crazy parties and Tiramisu, Tortilla and Quiche lorraine’ evenings, but it was not all.
The article also cited the French film l’Auberge Espagnole (Euro Pudding), but I think that it doesn’t appropriately highlight some kind of truth that is enclosed in this movie.
What really matters is not the Dolce Vita: when you find yourself with other youngsters from all over Europe, inserted in a completely new system and far away from home and your everyday life, you actually create a second family for yourself. You evolve together with your new friends, you experience new things, you study with them, you learn from different cultures and you end up discovering something about yourself. People at university are experiencing moments of great evolutions, and those years are critical to determine who they will really become. As the film concludes: “I’m not the guy in this picture anymore.. now I am part of him, part of her…”.
As I was saying before, going back home was a difficult moment for me. But not only because I didn’t feel special and life was boring. I have friends that are very important to me at home and that I find truly interesting. What is different is the fact that I didn’t share with them as much as I could share with other friends during my experience abroad. They are just not part of my famille-amis(as we call ourselves).
I am also sure that the degree of freedom that one can experience during the Erasmus period counts a lot in creating an overall atmosphere that is adequate to share experiences and grow up together, talk about the matters that really matter in life, etc… Creating this kind of environment is more difficult at home, especially in countries like Italy, where most students live with their parents (moving on our own is just too expensive): you can’t share everything with your friends in this context and as a consequence you get to know each other less. A significant example of this could be the reaction of my friends when I announced them that I had obtained the internship I wanted in the country where I was born: my famille-amisfriend started crying, hugged me and were really happy about that because they understood how important it was to me; my home-friends just told me:”ok, but it is not such a great deal, I would have been happier if you had told me you were pregnant”.
I do totally agree with the fact that telling the others what you experiences is almost impossible as nobody seems to understand you: either they are not interested, or they think that you are despising your domestic environment (family, friends, etc…).
I just cannot describe how I felt while I was showing some videos to my parents and I felt that they were just staring at me while I couldn’t help laughing… the worse thing is that it looked like they were worried about my mental health!
What else to say… I miss you guys!!! I think about you everyday!!! See you soon!!!