Reflecting Back on Studying Abroad
It has been three weeks since I’ve been in the United States and coming home has treated me well. I thought that I would have reverse culture shock but I adjusted back to life surprisingly in a matter of days. Of course the glorification of coming home has faded and I find my mind wondering back to the things that I miss about Prague. My family asked me how it was and I just couldn’t answer it because SO MUCH HAPPENED! Where do I start? But I found myself talking about it in casual conversation. Then, they would get sick of it and I found that once I wanted to talk about my past 4 months in Europe, I couldn’t stop. I would just bring something up or something would remind me of that one time in Europe and they would just walk away or roll their eyes. That’s probably the toughest part-not being able to share the experiences with them.
After a week of being home, my mind was distracted from Prague because I was back on a plane on my way across the country for 2 weeks. I was in Washington State, all the way across the country visiting my Aunt and my cousins. It was great to see them. Then, after just getting back and settling once again back into home life, it felt like I never left. Everything looks and feels the same. But I can feel that I’ve changed. And although I’ve missed out on family and friend events while having my own adventures and have a substantially lower bank account, I have taken things with me that I will never forget.
I won’t forget the people that I’ve met on my journey- my friends, my tour guides, my professors, people on the street who saw I was lost and asked if I needed help finding where I wanted to be going. I won’t forget the support that I received from my family and friends who kept cheering me on along the way. I couldn’t have endured homesickness and my own self-doubt without them believing in me.
I won’t forget the places I’ve been and the drive to go to discover more places. Even if I’m driving down my hometown road and see something that fascinates me, I won’t forget that I learned that anywhere we go, even in our backyard can be an adventure.
And ultimately, I won’t forget the friend that I made with myself. On my journey, I learned so much about myself. I became more independent and I relied on myself even when I thought that it was hopeless and I couldn’t do it. I won’t forget to make peace with my weaknesses.
Studying abroad was tough and challenging but it was ultimately rewarding. I definitely recommend it to other students so it can open their mind and allow them to experience the world in a different way. I wouldn’t trade the past 4 months spent in Europe for the world.