By Elizabeth Norton
You did it. You lived in a foreign country. You knew all the secret spots and all the best restaurants and could (for the most part) communicate in your heavy, broken accent.
You pushed through the first awkward days of getting lost in the streets, fumbling with the new currency, and probably tipping way too much. Some nights were hard. You missed home. But, slowly you began to fall in love with this unfamiliar place and it became yours.
Now you’re on a plane back. And you’re nervous, happy, and excited to see everyone. So here are 3 things that happen when you come back home after studying abroad:
1. You’ll have a whole new appreciation for your home.
It’s like seeing it for the first time again, you notice things that you never did before. The smell of your house, the warm and cozy feeling you get being back in your own bed again. Even the trivial things you took for granted, like having the freedom to drive yourself anywhere since you probably used public transportation while abroad. As much as you loved trying new foods, there’s nothing quite like stopping by your favorite local restaurant to get your ever-so-missed main dish.
2. You’ll realize you’ve changed.
It’s a humbling experience being a little fish in a big, foreign ocean of people. Living and navigating in a different country taught you more lessons than you can count. Because of these experiences, you are undeniably different from before. Your beliefs may have been challenged and maybe your values changed. You might feel alienated because you feel different.
Some of your friends will be happy for you and want to hear all about your adventures. Others may not be that interested. Don’t worry this is normal. You picked up a new style or hobby and became more self-confident. You’ve grown in a new direction and have gained an international perspective. It can take a little time to adjust your new-self back to old surroundings.
3. After you re-adjust, you’ll want to keep traveling.
After the excitement of being home wears off, you’ll see the desire to travel is still with you. You’ll catch yourself late at night surfing the web for plane tickets just so you can go visit your friends overseas. Your imagination will start to drift to new vistas you haven’t been and hope to see. It’s important to listen to this part of you and continue to seek out diverse experiences.
Some food for thought: “We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” — T.S. Eliot
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