The Year Abroad Blues

By Fabiana Barber

Monday morning. I’d gently open the balcony doors to feel the warm Madrid sun hug me, as light flooded my room. I’d sip a ‘Café con leche’ with a sugar-topped Magdalena in Plaza de Callao, content with the day ahead. After lectures had finished, I’d head home to my 12-person flat filled with new friends from across the world. Whilst enjoying the sunset at Templo de Debod together, we’d share fresh margarita pizzas and debate who would choose the night’s bar. Until the early hours of the morning we’d drink cheap sangria and devour tasty tapas, laughing, and feeling luckier than ever. 

And now, I’m back in Selly…

Whether your year was spent in Australia, Spain, or Japan, we can all relate to that deflated and nostalgic feeling of being back in England for good. It seems to be triggered by various things, a Snapchat memory of you smiling with your international pals, an Instagram story of this year’s year-abroad students sat in (what was) your favourite spot, or even upon realising that, despite it only being October, you really are going to have to wear your winter coat. It hits you, the year you’d be preparing for, for so long, is all over. These are the year abroad blues. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom, it will pass.  

We must remember why we chose UoB before any foreign city stole our hearts. We can all admit that, at least once, whilst we were away, homesickness hit us and we missed Brum, but why? Well, the reasons that left us craving a slice of home are the same reasons that will let us love Birmingham once again… we just need to rediscover them. 

As a helping hand, let’s start with Fab n Fresh. It does not matter if you love or hate, or love to hate Fab, there simply is no sports night, nor Saturday night, nor Facebook page, quite like Fab – and it’s exclusively ours. Next up, Old Joe. Indeed, we took incredible pictures of sandy beaches and beautiful city streets, but surely, it’s time for Joe to become the centre of your feed again. From your housemates to teammates, your lecturers and course mates, there’s so many reasons to be happy, right here in Brum. 

So, I promise, the blues are temporary, but to guide you through in the meantime, a few tips.

  1. Learn to love the rain. 

We coped before, we will cope again. Buy yourself a snazzy raincoat and a mini umbrella and all will be solved. If that’s not enough, think of the days you were freshly sun burnt and dripping in sweat, longing for a cosy rainy day by the telly. 

  1. No need for goodbyes.

We live in a wonderful world where planes, trains, cars and boats all exist to get us where we want to be. If you want to go back, you can, and you will. The incredible invention of facetime even means your friend from Berlin can join you for dinner whenever you like; they’re not gone, just a little further away. 

  1. Keep looking ahead. 

The more we dwindle on what’s no longer, the tougher it will be to accept that Brum is where we are now. Be grateful for all that you’ve done but know that there are still many more memories to be made. 

Who knows, this could be your best year yet!

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