During the mobility

1.Study advice

The first weeks of studying in a new university can bring a lot of excitement. Everything‘s new, everything‘s different! But what to do when the excitement starts to mix with fear of failure?

Here are some tips to help you feel less nervous and overwhelmed.



Use your first week‘s energy to make a study plan: go through each subject one by one, check its requirements for passing the course, and if possible – make an assignment schedule for all your courses. Make sure that none of your courses has overlapping schedules or has been cancelled. When necessary, consult with coordinators both at your Home and Host institutions. It may seem a lot, but it can all be done within the first 1-2 weeks.



We won‘t lie – studies abroad will not always match your expectations. Sometimes half the courses are cancelled, and sometimes they are taught in a local language you don‘t understand. Sometimes you simply hate all your professors. If you find yourself on a verge of cancelling your exchange semester and just leaving it all, first of all – tell somebody about it. Your friends, your family, your coordinators. You‘ll find out that there might be other solutions, for example, to make individual appointments with professors instead of dropping the courses, to have personally designed examinations, or to sort out the mess with schedules by choosing another similar course. And in the end, if you see that nothing can be changed – it‘s okay to quit. Find out the options to re-enrol to the courses at your Home university and come back home. You‘ll be ready for this (or another) experience next time!



Universities usually provide all the necessary information about studies on their website, during the welcome week, through email correspondence. However, it‘s still common that information is written in a difficult-to-understand, formal language or is not easy to find. Local students have been studying here for a while, they have a bigger picture – ask them. You can ask them anything, e.g., how the semester looks – when and how often professors make assignments, how does examination session look, whether is it possible to retake examinations. Knowing „how things work“ will make you feel calmer. If you don‘t have a local student friend yet – make it today‘s mission to find one!



Having a routine in your study life can keep you on track and make you more productive. Check how much time you need for each study subject and its assignments, make a weekly plan and turn it into a routine that works for you. And don‘t forget – not every day is the same, make some space for unexpected events as well.



Finding at least one person to discuss and share notes with can increase your confidence during the classes, improve your efficiency and get rid of frustration. Group work in a classroom is nothing new at this age, however, it might be a challenge after class hours. The latest trend among students is to create study groups online. This way everyone can share their knowledge and ask questions at an appropriate time, and when necessary – quickly arrange an online or offline meeting.



Develop your studying skills through online courses: coursera.org, edx.org
Connect with your classmates on Discord servers or study groups: https://discord.com/
Check out TEDx talks about effective learning, such as this one made by Barbara Oakley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O96fE1E-rf8

2.Stress management

Going abroad often sounds like a dream, however, it may have both positive and negative effects. If you paid attention to our guide on cultural adaptation, you‘ll remember that cultural shock phase often comes with a bunch of negative experiences, including stress. Living abroad can be stressful for many different reasons – a new place, a new language, people you‘ve never met before, accommodation issues, bureaucracy, pining, and even heavy partying.

Stress is a natural defence mechanism which has helped us, the human species, to survive since ancient times. And even if we are not being stalked by large cats, snakes and bears anymore, we still have to protect ourselves from the modern life „predators“ – exams, deadlines, high workload and many others.

Stress can be both good and bad for you. Low stress can encourage activity, creativity, energy, and even help to concentrate. However, when stress is too big and lasts too long, it may interfere with studies and other activities. If you start feeling any of the typical stress symptoms (apathy, headaches, trouble concentrating, muscle tension, stomach problems, anger, anxiety,…), it is an indication that you need to find a way to calm down and relax.

Activities to help you relax, rest and experience pleasant emotions:

  • Exercise, jog, hike, ride a bike… Find the activity that you would enjoy. Physical activity (even if it is only 15min of stretching or 30min walking) activates „happy hormones“ and is very important for mental health;
  • Take care of your proper diet, make sure it’s nutritious!
  • Remember your old hobbies or give yourself some time to learn new fun things or perhaps even join a student club?;
  • Take care of proper sleep hygiene. It is recommended to sleep 7 to 9 hours a day;
  • Keep in touch with your friends and family regularly;
  • Quality rest sometimes can take some time and effort, but it could help you to be more productive. The key is to maintain healthy rest and work balance.

If you‘re already in stress, there are different stress management techniques that you could try out:

  • Recognize the feelings that arise (fear, anger, anxiety, frustration, excitement, joy, etc.);
  • Recognize how these emotions feel in your body (headache, raising heartbeat, pressure in the chest);
  • Regulate your breathing, relax the body;
  • Pay attention to what can you see, smell, touch or taste around you (in that way you will concentrate your mind on here and now, which is usually quite safe);
  • Use relaxation exercises (attention exercises, meditation) – check our useful resources section for ideas;
  • Engage in activities that calm you down and help to relax (just for a specific amount of time, so that it wouldn’t turn into procrastination);
  • Review your thoughts (inner language), and irrational thoughts that tend to activate the alarm and “fight or flight” response.

If you continue to experience difficulties to calm down, you may contact a psychologist.



COSTABEX video and training on stress management: https://costabex.eu/stress-management/

COSTABEX meditation audios: https://costabex.eu/meditation-audios/

World Health Organisation stress management guide for coping with adversity: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240003927

Mental Health tips from ESN: https://blog.erasmusgeneration.org/5-mental-health-tips-erasmus-students

3.How to manage a crisis

Moving abroad is often one of the triggers causing crisis. Even if you‘re feeling fine at the moment, somebody else you know might be struggling.

An unmanaged crisis might lead to emotional instability, unmanageable anxiety, strong feelings of guilt and shame or narrowed focus of perception, so it is important to handle a crisis in the early stages.

In the previous topic „What could go wrong“, we talked about all potential situations causing negative experiences and crises, which means you are already aware of the possible struggles. The next thing to know is how to manage these situations.



The way people respond to crises is individual and may differ for everyone. Some examples include:

  • Feeling of being always „on guard“
  • Constant tiredness
  • Anxiety
  • Vulnerability
  • Depression
  • Self-doubt
  • Change in your life goals
  • Getting help

While in crisis, it might be difficult to function as you normally would, therefore, it is important to seek help. If you notice a change in your behaivour, please contact the counselling service at your University. University counsellors can help you get in touch with the specialists and if necessary, to negotiate with academic staff.



While in crisis, it might be difficult to function as you normally would, therefore, it is important to seek help. If you notice a change in your behaviour, please contact the counselling service at your University. University counsellors can help you get in touch with the specialists and if necessary, to negotiate with academic staff.



  • Acknowledge you‘re in crisis. Pretending will only prolong the recovery process.
  • Try to think of all possible solutions to the situation.
  • Don‘t rush with life changing decisions.
  • Give yourself time to heal.
  • Learn from the experience. Embrace failure and notice how it changed you. But don‘t over-analyse – it is time to move on at some point.
  • And remember – all crisis leads to personal growth.


4.Work-rest balance

Maintaining a healthy study-rest balance is crucial for exchange students, who may be facing new challenges such as adjusting to a different culture, language, and academic system. Here are some tips for achieving a balance:

  • Set clear goals for your exchange program
    before you leave, think about what you want to accomplish during your exchange. This will help you prioritize your time and manage your workload.
  • Establish a routine
    a regular routine can help you stay organized and manage your time effectively. Try to set aside specific times for studying, resting, and exploring your host city.
  • Motivation
    If you have a long list of tasks due tomorrow, take the easiest one and do it. A sense of accomplishment works as a great motivation boost. After you get your most undesirable task off the list, everything else will seem easier, and even the task you did will not seem as scary after it is done.


If you have a big paper to write or need to devote many hours for studying, it might be scary to even start. One exercise can ease a situation: give yourself only 15 minutes to do it (for example, 15 minutes for reading your notes or a book, 15 minutes to spend on solving math problems). Working for only 15 minutes does not seem to be that scary, therefore will be easier to bring oneself to start studying. During these 15 minutes of “warming up” a person usually grows some curiosity and interest that help continue studying.

  • Take breaks
    don’t try to do everything at once! Taking breaks helps you recharge and come back to your studies with fresh energy.

  • Practice self-care
    being abroad can be overwhelming, so it’s important to take care of yourself. Exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you’re feeling overwhelmed or homesick.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself
    It’s normal to feel stressed or homesick during your exchange. Remember that you’re in a new place and it’s okay to make mistakes. Be kind to yourself and seek support if you need it.

  • Reward
    think about something nice that you can reward yourself with after completing the task. It can be a tasty muffin, going out for a walk while the sun is shining, a phone call with your cousin or literally anything thet brings you joy. Allow yourself to feel the pleasure after you complete a difficult task, and next time your brain will remember that it is worth it.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy study-rest balance and make the most of your exchange program.