Study Abroad Blog: Returning students

[Kealie Mardell | Print Editor] 

Kealie is a returning student from a study abroad year at California State University, Long Beach

Every year hundreds of students travel around the world to work or study abroad as part of their university degrees. We hear the amazing stories of their journeys and all the fun adventures they’ve had, but often forgotten is what happens when you return home from your travels.

When you apply to study abroad you spend all your time preparing to go. You need to apply for a visa, book your flights, find somewhere to stay, try and pack all your belongings into one little case, and take them all back out when you can’t lift it off the floor. For many this preparation takes months, some have been planning for years.

But when it’s time to come home, there’s no preparation. I left my packing to the last minute and tried my best to pretend I didn’t have to leave. That return flight home creeps up on you, and before you know it you’re stepping off the plane and feeling the bitter cold British wind on your face. After a year in California, the weather alone was enough of a shock to the system!

When you return from study abroad, many of your friends and people you met over the first years at university would have moved on to the year above or graduated. If your study abroad or placement is a sandwich year then your final year is spent with students in the year below.

Just know that you’re not alone. You made friends the first time round and you can do it again. Why not take this opportunity to join a new club or society? This can be a great way to meet new people outside of your classes and make sure your last year at home doesn’t fall short.

If you’re staying in touch with those you met abroad, don’t let the time difference get the better of you! I’ve lost many a night’s sleep by talking to America, but do this too often and you’ll soon suffer the consequences, trust me.

Sometimes those post-holiday blues can have a greater effect. If your mood is low and you are experiencing emotional difficulties, or problems adjusting now you’re back at Herts, there is support available through our Counselling Centre. Based in the MacLaurin Building (opposite deHavilland Campus), qualified and experienced counsellors are on hand to help and talk through any difficulties you might be facing.  You can contact them on 01707284453 or email

If you had the time of your life abroad, don’t let it go to waste. Bring all your new found sense of adventure to the rest of your time at university.


Study Abroad Blog: Returning students