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Year abroad - like Freshers but worse !

(107 Posts)
Ih8usernames Tue 18-Sep-18 17:03:11

Seeking support & hand holding from others whose DC are starting 3rd year abroad & struggling. DDis in Europe, so not too far away,& it's very early days. She's finding EVERYTHING hard & I'm getting tearful calls all hours day & night. It's heartbreaking. Languages degree, so it's mandatory, no dropping out or going back now. Freshers week in U.K. was bad enough, this is same again x 10. Planning a long weekend visit next month, but not sure if that's too soon, if she's just starting (hopefully) to settle in . Bit more complicated arranging flights & hotel, than when she was a 2hour train ride away. 😕

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BubblesBuddy Tue 18-Sep-18 18:41:54

What exactly is the problem? Thousands of DC do this every year, so what were her plans and why does she feel it isn’t working.

My DD1 did a year abroad in two locations so I do understand the pitfalls. If I can help, I will.

Ih8usernames Tue 18-Sep-18 19:53:10

It's all the things you'd expect, language on top of new flat, flat mates who don't know each other & they don't mingle, just keep to their rooms. She's missing friends , boyfriend & family. Says she's got herself stuck doing something that seemed like a good idea when she was 17. How did yours get on - were they ok from the off?

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TeaAddict235 Tue 18-Sep-18 19:54:59

I did this in France. Did she have the summer language lessons and classes just for the foreign students? They are there for the students to feel at home before the home students return. Which country is she in?

Oblomov18 Tue 18-Sep-18 20:03:23

Eh? Where are her course mates? Why is she struggling? I'm confused.

We went to Russia. We went to 3 or 4 places, so there was a group of 8 or so at every place. Everyone I know had the best time ever. Sometimes a bit of homesickness. But no problems.

I'm struggling to understand your dd's problems.

bookworm14 Tue 18-Sep-18 20:05:53

I remember feeling a bit like this at the start of my year abroad, but it passed quickly and I had a brilliant time. It was the making of me, really - particularly the bit in Russia. She will be fine, don’t worry.

AtiaoftheJulii Tue 18-Sep-18 20:12:04

My dd2 is away too, 3 weeks tomorrow. She's doing ok at the social side of things, she's pretty self-contained, but she is getting extremely stressed and frustrated at the lack of organisation or cooperation re enrolling for classes. It's not just her, all the Erasmus students are finding the university weirdly unhelpful. But she's definitely not a 'go with the flow' type person so she's very upset atm.

Ih8usernames Tue 18-Sep-18 20:13:46

Tea no, she's been studying the language for 2 years , she's good but lacks confidence. Thanks bookworm, it's good to hear that. I'm surprised at people who can't understand why it's hard for a 20year old on her own in a new country for the first time!

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Onceuponatime21 Tue 18-Sep-18 20:17:10

Oh my sister did this and I loved it. Loved visiting her, era of cheap flights and I went back and forward. Brilliant , hopefully justnlike uni here she'll find her group of friends and learn so much.
My sis had an amazing time.

Will be great for her language too if she makes the most of it and doesn't just hang out with other foreign students.

Ih8usernames Tue 18-Sep-18 20:18:25

Sorry to hear that, Atia. Mine's not a go with the flow type either. Likes to know what's what, so a bit lost at the moment. Social side is lacking a bit, but it's only been a week, so hoping that will improve. Does your DD have friends there /people she knows from her UK uni?

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Ih8usernames Tue 18-Sep-18 20:21:39

Glad you enjoyed your sister's year, Once 🙂! Lots of DDs friends want to visit but a lot are in their final years & likely to be free in vacations when she'll be wanting to come back home!

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Fifi500 Tue 18-Sep-18 20:30:19

Gosh, I have found others who understand how I feel at the moment. My DD is also on her year abroad, compulsory for her language degree. I left her standing in the rain at a bus stop in central Tokyo last Monday and since then it has been a roller coaster of emotions for all of us. Initially she seemed to settle but unfortunately became ill on Thursday evening and has spent the weekend in bed far more poorly than she has been in years. I feel so helpless, to have my only child 6000 miles away and having no one. She made it to a taster class today, so hopefully she is on the mend.

AtiaoftheJulii Tue 18-Sep-18 20:31:20

Ih8 I think there are 4 of them from her uni, but she doesn't know them iykwim. Tbh I think she'd barely spoken to anyone after a week, but she has talked to other people now if that's any encouragement!

Ih8usernames Tue 18-Sep-18 20:46:14

Oh Fifi500 💐! That's a bloody long way away on her own! She must be a brave young woman

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Ih8usernames Tue 18-Sep-18 20:48:48

Atia yes I guess they'll get to know others from their own uni,gravitate towards people who are at least a bit familiar/ share same language. 🙂

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Eastend2015 Tue 18-Sep-18 20:52:07

It is tough at the beginning and soooo tiring but it will really be worth it. I did a year in France and French wasn’t even the main part of my degree. Speaking a language fluently has been a huge advantage in my career and I wouldn’t have got my fab new job without it. Tell her to hang in there!

fromthefloorboardsup Tue 18-Sep-18 20:54:33

I know how she feels. I did a year abroad in 2007 and found it so difficult. It was the worst year of my life, but I got through it and now I look back and realise how much I learnt from finding it so difficult. I'm pleased I didn't give up.

It was especially hard because everyone told me it'd be the best year ever, but your DD will get through it and be a better person for it, even if she doesn't enjoy it. (And she may come to enjoy it!)

fromthefloorboardsup Tue 18-Sep-18 20:56:51

FWIW my parents came to visit when I'd been there about a month, and I was so grateful. It wasn't too soon!

AtiaoftheJulii Tue 18-Sep-18 20:59:42

I think she's just meeting new people. Everyone's keen to make friends for the semester/year.

They have a French language class each week just for the Erasmus students, and hers is mostly German students apparently, which she's happy about as she also does German. It's just all the other classes she's not happy with!

AtiaoftheJulii Tue 18-Sep-18 21:01:00

We're going in half term.

DizzyLizzieisnothappy Tue 18-Sep-18 21:09:13

Oblomov - just bugger off the thread if you can't understand why someone might be struggling just because you had a jolly time in Russia.

Mentounasc Tue 18-Sep-18 21:38:34

Hand-hold from me! It really can be difficult in a new culture, especially if you've not done it before. DD is in her third year too, in a non-European country with a fairly different culture - the difference is that she also did her first two years in a different country so being somewhere new wasn't the shock this time - it was the sheer otherness of the experience. Beeping taxi drivers, gawping men, power cuts, a country with no functioning government, horrible heat are just some of the challenges. We took her there in August and had our summer holiday there too, or I think she'd have been top overwhelmed altogether. After we left she spent a few days panicking about being alone with no friends, had a major cockroach alert, then settled down and it all sort of clicked - now she's loving it. But she did have to steel herself and start asking other people in her classes if they'd go for a coffee afterwards etc. Could your DD manage to do that a bit?
I think lots of phoning and Whatsapping with you at the beginning is not a problem - just keep on telling her you believe in her and it will all work out. You'll know all is well when you have to pester her for a message once a week!
I remember now that in DD's first year after she'd been abroad for about two months she was feeling really down, bad cold etc, and I did book a flight at short notice and pop over for a few days. It did her the world of good to see a familiar face and she managed fine after that.

Ih8usernames Tue 18-Sep-18 22:57:12

You're all helping so much. (Dizzie - 👍!) Yes there's so much 'best year of your life' stuff I think it adds to the pressure/sense of failure if you're not having a fantastic time. It is an achievement to hang in there, especially if you find it hard (less so if you sail easily through the whole thing) . Mentounasc, cockroach alert sounds grim! I'll keep on messaging etc and giving reassurance. On my side I'm learning that I need to not worry about what's 'normal ' & what she 'should' be doing & feeling. She definitely needs to meet more people, & that will happen, she's generally a likeable person & has made a Lot of good solid fríendships at her home Uni.

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Thatdidntlastlong Tue 18-Sep-18 23:05:59

I think a year abroad can be one of those things that sounds great...and then when it comes to it is not necessarily that appealing to everyone - people vary!
I've certainly heard of people backing out of it as the time approaches (though I know you say it's mandatory for this degree op, so not suggesting that!). So anyway, absolutely nothing or surprising wrong with finding it hard at first - or even throughout! Your dd is very lucky to have your support.
I suppose the advice is the usual - get out there and do things, join clubs - and if she hasn't yet made friends get out alone to museums and exhibitions and so on, - those things can make you feel a sense of achievement and perhaps more 'invested' in the place.

PaddysMarket Tue 18-Sep-18 23:08:40

My DD heads off for her 3rd year on Monday, I think this has been loads more stressful than starting Uni as there is just so much that needed to be done. DD is quiet so I'm not sure how she is going to feel being a 4hr plane flight away. At least with uni she could jump on the train or I'd drive to her tho that only happened in 1st year when she was totally miserable, 2nd year she moved in with her school friends and had the best time.

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