From Paradise to Eddy B: The reality of coming back to Leeds after studying abroad
Being home isn’t all that fun
You’ve just spent the last year fulfilling every ‘gap yah’ stereotype; you wore baggy elephant pants round every temple, posed for more candids than you ever thought possible, and bagged yourself a supposedly ‘meaningful’ tattoo. Your study abroad year was, in reality, a year-long holiday.
But now the siesta is over, and it’s back to the degree you’d almost entirely forgotten about. And while being home has its perks (I was getting a little bored of my shorts), you’re struggling.
That’s so okay.
Instead of planning our travels, we’re exploring the contents of the library. The walk through Hyde Park seems longer than ever. We’re back to jeans and a nice top, rather than shorts and Birkenstock. We’re cold, poorer than ever, and stressed to the nines. Where’s a kangaroo cuddle when you need one?
But it’s not all bad. Terrace prices are doing the overdraft BIG favours.
Here’s what you’re really going through now you’re back:
Moving back home:
You actually couldn’t get out of home quick enough. While mum’s fabric softener and gran’s cooking were worth the 24-hour flight home, the charm went as quickly as the contents of the fridge. The move back to Leeds was a priority from the start.
Back to REALITY:
A student house with no heating, and a shower that’s more of a dribble. The warm glow of being abroad with few responsibilities has entirely evaporated. Instead the thermals and the puffer (obviously to be worn with hoops, gym-but-not-for-the-gym leggings, and black air force).
One of the few perks of returning home: living next door to your friends is way better than any Facetime. Particularly for those late-night Sainsbury’s trips for more garlic bread.
You owe the bank of mum and dad more than your student loan, and the overdraft has more extensions than the girls in Tiger Tiger. Somehow though, ASOS packages continue to arrive. At least calls home are cheaper.
Did you know I went abroad?
You can’t possibly let anyone forget that you spent the year ticking the wonders of the world off your bucket list. Your walls are plastered with the mountains of Senja and the sunsets of Koh Phi Phi. Plane tickets cover your pin board, and that tourist hoodie hasn’t been washed in weeks.
Another of the few perks, considering they now regularly play The Greatest Showman and Abba. One of the only nights out you’ll consider leaving your bed for.
Yes, Parkinson looks fab; ask any drunk uni-of student. But the views don’t compare to ANYTHING that you saw last year. Ilkley Moor: not NZ’s Mount Cook. Hyde Park: the furthest thing from Yellowstone’s national park. Call Lane: nothing like Khao San Road.
I actually have to try?
For those of us who had the bliss of grades that didn’t count, scribbling rather than scrolling in lectures is an adjustment.
Instagram isn’t helping:
Skyscanner, please stop showing me adverts for flights to New Zealand; travels goals for the North Island aren’t being met any time soon.
22? How about 40?
The freshers look younger than ever, and REALLY need to get out of the library. It’s week 3; you should still be drunk. I, however, am enjoying my glass of wine coupled with Bake Off and an early night.
At least it’s only 74 days till Christmas.