It may come as a surprise, but a lot of people deal with loneliness during their Erasmus, especially in the beginning when they still haven’t made friends and are still discovering their new country and city. During my last semester of Erasmus Mundus in Bologna, I struggled keeping up with obligations and isolation during writing of my thesis. I might now have been quarantined, but there was little to do outside of home when all your friends are busy buried in academic work.
Feeling of loneliness is an entirely normal thing, given the fact that your entire world was just turned upside down and a lot of new things are happening. Even more so normal in crazy times like these when the typical activities are impossible to have; everyone is bound to feel cabin fever at some point. But there are certain ways that can help yourself alleviate the feeling of loneliness and feel perhaps just a bit better. Here are several tips:
Don’t skip your obligations
Attend all of your (online) classes, accept any invitations for hanging out that may come your way and push yourself to pay attention to other people. It will not only be good for your grades, but you will also have the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. Additionally, attending classes makes up for the lack of structure which you might be lacking.
Participate in events
Look for different online ESN events or extracurricular activities that your university offers, as there must be plenty of them. These events are great opportunities to meet new people that share your interests. The simple contact with people, even strangers, can help with feeling less lonely, since it gives you a chance to communicate with others and also, to have fun and relax in a time of extreme stress and uncertainty.
Skype with friends and family often
If you feel lonely while at your dormitory or apartment, call or Skype with your friends and family members back home. It’s great to catch up with them, and that way you won’t feel like you’re missing out on what’s going on back home. You will also get support from them in case you are struggling with anything. Your family and friends are your support system, and let’s face it seeing your pet over camera is just the cutest.
Any kind of sports can be a great opportunity to feel more comfortable and working out at home can be very beneficial, since you will be full of endorphins and thus happier! Since being stuck at home means less movement, it is also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and usual amount of physical activity.
Play music or tv series at home
This may sound strange at first, but when you feel alone at home, playing some music or your favourite tv show (or YouTube videos/podcasts/audiobooks, whatever you like) can help as background noise makes us feel less alone - it might remind you of your university library or . If you have a tv in your room or apartment, even better!
Be open to new experiences
Erasmus helps you grow in unexpected ways, learning new things and meeting new cultures, so be open for new experiences and be willing to try everything out and talk to different people. You might enjoy it more than you think!
Alumni Erasmus Mundus programa