Dealing with Depression for exchange students

Dealing with Depression for exchange students

In this article I want to talk about a serious and common problem – depression in students studying abroad and about effective ways to deal with it.

When exchange students study overseas, they gain experiences that dramatically change their lives, but with it, they suffer successes and failures. While abroad, you need to identify signs of depression and learn how to deal with hostile thoughts.

Firstly, I want to tell you a little about my experience

I consider my exchange student’s experience valuable and progressive, it’s one of the most important parts of my life. I studied abroad in England and the USA, and I’m sure studying abroad gives students different skills that will be very helpful in their lives. It’s the best time to learn!

However, it is important to understand that studying abroad does not give you only a positive experience. Looking back on the past five years I spent living, working and studying in in other countries I want to share my thought of ups and down of the life across the ocean.

Life abroad sometimes gets crazy so much that someone can feel dull. Well, if you are an anxious or depressed person, like me, then the problems that overtake you can aggravate your psychological state.

New place, new people, new life – best option for those who are stuck in a routine and yearn for new knowledges and emotions. But after a while, everything new starts to saturate and tire, and one can get a strong desire to return home, in places where everything is familiar and native.

When I first lived abroad, I had such a period, too. At that time, I felt a bit depressed. I tried to calm down, listened to my favorite music, watched good films, communicated many interesting people. After a while I got used to all the new things happened in my life and even had dreams in a foreign language. I want you to understand that problems come and go, but you have such a splendid opportunity to study abroad, to learn the culture, traditions and customs of people who live there. And it’s great!

The reasons for depression when staying abroad

There are many reasons that can cause depression, and they have varying degrees of gravity. Many factors influence the development of a depressive state. It can be a significant stand in your way to a better life. Often the expectation does not match reality, there are many situations that have never happened to you before. And not all of the students are ready for the cultural shock. When I studied abroad for the first time our group had a kind of cultural studies. Students from other countries told us about usual life of people would live side by side, about their traditions. They told us their own experience and it was great! It helped me a lot! Unfortunately, because of the pandemic situation you can find other students’ experiences in the internet. I noticed that people who lived abroad are open-minded and open-hearted. You can ask any questions that bother you. I think everyone will be eager to help you with a piece of advice.

Studying and staying abroad can be challenging due to the fact that you are left alone, which is why, unfortunately, depression is so common among university’s students. According to rough estimates, 1 out of 3 students at times suffers from various mental problems. When preparing for a trip abroad, many students are nervous about a different culture and mentality, because of the problems they may face living in a foreign country and learning a foreign language. The hardest of these problems is homesickness.

There are many difficulties such as culture shock, different experiences that sometimes don’t meet the expectations of the new life abroad and tremendous situations while studying in another country and as a result – the student’s depressive thoughts.

Depression among the students that study abroad is very common, but sometimes can be ignored particularly when students expect this time to become the best time of their life.

Coronavirus and depression

Not so long ago my father had a positive test for COVID-19. He had a mild form of the disease, now he is much better. But while he was being treated, I kept thinking about how I would return to the United States if the situation had a worse outcome. The global pandemic most often makes us anxious and it can cause mental problems for people living abroad and far from their families.

People during a pandemic are more prone to depression than two to three years ago. These days, exchange students find it difficult to stay positive and active, enjoy studying abroad the way they may used to. Many students choose to stay at home due to the pandemic panic, although the programs are still in place. Students studying abroad lack the support of the community and friends. Sometimes it can be critically difficult to be isolated in a foreign country, away from home and loved ones. But on the other hand, it is important to remember that your loved people are proud of you and wish you success in your studies.

Important steps

There are many available recourses to help you understand that you are in a state close to depression. Here are a few of them: loss of motivation, lack of movement, loss of familiar interests that used to bring joy, melancholy, anxiety, unwillingness to communicate with someone. It is a really valuable step to recognize the signs of depression and seek help in time. If you catch any of the listed signs in your behavior, here are 5 easy steps to follow. Their effect is proved by the people that suffer different kinds of depression.

1. Proper nutrition helps to improve well-being. Of course, fast food is delicious, but your body will be better off without it. Fish, cheese, vegetables, fruits, and some chocolate will help you to recover. Eat something light for supper early.

2. You need to normalize your sleep. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Before going to bed, ventilate the room. And most importantly – no negative information before going to bed, put your phone away, instead of watching the news feed take a warm bath and drink a glass of milk with honey.

3. Exercise is an ideal way to get your body in better shape and get a boost of energy. You can start running in the morning, exercising at home with YouTube classes, going to the pool or dancing. Choose what you like!

4. Measure your train of thought in a positive way. Smile more often, there are so many joys in the world! Communicate with happy people, they are contagious 🙂

5. If you have a hobby or something that you have long wanted to do, go for it! Favorite activities will help you to relax and escape from worries.

In conclusion I want to say, remember that you are not alone! Look around, there are a lot of people like you if you contact We are all united by similar problems and difficulties. Easy to make friends and never be sad again!