Preparing for the unknown is not easy, some would say even impossible. But while the internet is full of student success stories, we‘d like to share with you some „unsuccess stories“ – something that has happened to exchange students in the past. Being aware of what could happen will likely reduce the stress IF you‘ll find yourself in such a situation. The good news is – most of the situations you‘ll find here were sorted out one way or another. And perhaps you‘ll find a solution to some of the potential issues before they even happen!

  • You might miss your friends 
  • You might have difficulties speaking the local language (or English) and understanding the local people 
  • You might not get used to the international atmosphere
  • You might not have internet the first days after arrival 
  • The handle of your suitcase might break at the airport 
  • You might fail some of your subjects
  • You might be robbed and lose all your documents
  • You might get ill and get an appointment with a doctor who doesn‘t speak English
  • So, getting ill is a bore in itself, but on Erasmus, it’s even worse because you might not have medication with you and you also your parents are not there to look after you
  • When you’re in a restaurant and the menus don’t have a translation or pictures of the food – it’s like shooting in the dark and hoping that you hit the target. Who needs a menu?
  • You might not have money for parties or other events because you have to save for, basically, survival and not running out of bread or water
  • You might be unlucky with your accommodation, whether that’s household problems (e. g no hot water, uncomfortable bed etc. ) or because your flatmates are horrible. If you’re expecting a life like in “Friends” or “How I Met Your Mother”, then you might be disappointed
  • You might get lost in a city that you don‘t know, without the internet on your phone, or without a map. Add to this the fact that you might not know the language well enough to ask for directions. 
  • You might be trying to maintain a long-distance relationship, and it might not be easy. But, hey, it can work out if you are truly dedicated!
  • You might get.. fat. Oh yes, you’re going to get fat if you’re not careful.
  • You might not like the local food and everyone would look at you like you’re crazy.
  • Your classes and exams might be held in a different language than expected. It‘s not fair, we agree. But it happens… Try to negotiate with your professors. 
  • You might take the wrong bus or train
  • You might also receive little or no information about events for international students taking place in the city
  • You might experience intolerance towards foreigners 
  • Homesickness might threaten you sometimes, but you don’t succumb to it, do you? Well, it’s there anyway. But it’s not a problem, it’s natural.

If you read it all and nothing made you worry – bravo! Otherwise, read it again and consult with your friends, relatives, and university employees. There is a solution to (almost) everything!

Stay tuned – we‘ll keep you informed on how to deal with negative experiences once you‘re abroad. It might not have practical solutions but you‘ll learn how to calm your mind in stressful situations. 

Useful resources: 

COSTABEX training on crisis management: 

COSTABEX meditation audios: