Time for the Bitter-Sweet Goodbye


The final weeks of university have begun. For international postgraduate students whose course is only one year, as well as for Erasmus students, the time for returning to their home countries comes closer and closer.

Once the exams are written, the time to go home might arrive sooner than you know. Some of the international students will be happy that the year is over, others might find it difficult to give up the “new home” in the UK. Most of us will probably think about the situation with mixed feelings.

Finding the moment of saying goodbye this soon, many German students might use the German saying that they leave with “one eye laughing, the other one crying”. This metaphor only means that something is being done with mixed feelings. The goodbye of an international student leaving for his or her home country is the perfect example for this saying.

Of course, every foreign student will be happy to be home again, reunited with the family and friends that were missed during the last year. Many will feel relieved to be back in one’s usual context, without any language barriers or misunderstandings. Some of the international students may also be happy to eat their national food again that is difficult to get hold of in the UK.

But on the other hand, everybody returning home will miss certain aspects of the UK life – may it be the brilliant parties with the house mates, the challenges in daily life, or the delicious portion Fish’n’Chips that is nowhere as tasty as in England.

But when is the best moment to return home? Erasmus students are able to leave directly after the exams, and that (in most cases) is already before the end of May. Postgraduates who have to write their dissertation might be tempted to write it (or at least parts of it) at home, so that they can leave at some point during the summer months. However, the decision when to return home will be strongly connected to how you felt and feel during your time in the UK.

Finally, at least for students whose home country is within the EU, there is another possibility to consider: finding a job and staying in the UK. Without the obstacles of visas or work permissions, it would be easy to stay longer than planned. This decision has to be made by every international student on his or her own – but if you realise that your “crying eye” is more dominant than the “laughing” one, then it is definitely a possibility worth to consider.

Image by Valentina Signorelli

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