Returning to the USA: The Home-Stretch and Missing Home, Part 1

It’s already April. Around this time, studying abroad gets even harder because it’s the home-stretch. End-of-the-year projects are creeping up. The end of classes is in about a month. Home is not too far away either. All is in sight.

So this month should be about getting on top of school work, working little by little on rounding out those projects, and making sure you’re giving time for yourself, and to see the rest of Spain.

Here’s what I’ve been doing to keep afloat before returning to the U.S.: Waking up with a good amount of sleep. Checking in on my planner to see what to tackle first. After 1-2 assignments, taking a break to write in my journal, or write a letter home, watch a short episode of my favorite TV series, or call home. Then, with a light snack and drink of water, I get back on my grind. After another assignment or two, I take a walk outside to get a late lunch and some fresh air.

Apart from academics in my mind, knowing that I am going home soon makes me keeping thinking about home more. But keep in mind that you will never get this experience back the way you experienced it now. So, enjoy it, relish in the good, the bad, and always reflect upon it. Be aware that a lot might have changed back home and at the university. For example, my friends might be moving off campus, and my brother and sister will be a year older than when I last saw them. You miss out on stuff, but you gain some stuff, too. That’s okay!

Around this time, I would also say to check in on your grades. University in Madrid, Spain isn’t the same as university at New Paltz. Not all my grades are online, and not all my projects are turned in back to me in the time I’d like it to be, or that I’m used to. So, check in if you are curious.

Also, hang out with people you don’t want to forget while being abroad. Friendships here can be pretty special. Hold onto those people, and create new memories. I’ve been really grateful for the relationship I have with my roommate here, and she’s leaving a couple of weeks sooner than me. So in an effort to see a bit more of Spain together, and cross things off our list, we are planning a trip to Valencia for our 5-day break in late April. Super stoked.

Last but not least, hang in there! Projects will get completed. Essays will be turned in. Exams will be over soon. It’s only a matter of time. And then, home sweet home.

I am ready to see my brother and sister, hear my grandma’s voice, eat home-cooked food from my Puerto Rican culture. I am ready to hear my Dad’s life-lesson talks, and my mom’s advice. I am ready for summer back in New York. I can’t wait to see my friends. Almost everyone has celebrated their”21st” and I cannot wait to celebrate life with them, too.

I am also really excited for my last summer before my last year of college. I can’t believe how my time at New Paltz is almost coming to an end as an undergrad. And yet, I am still here in Madrid, Spain, trying to live my best life, while thinking about how my life at New Paltz will be, too.

I am glad I chose Madrid to speak Spanish, learn about history, and get out of my comfort zone. But as of now, I am ready to come home. I just need to visit Barcelona and Paris (if I can), to feel completely gratified by my stay here. Even so, it’s been a good run.

I believe I have so much love and support from home while being abroad, so I feel really good about coming home. And will try my best not to talk about Spain, too much. I don’t want to overload them with my reverse culture shock. Plus, one day, I want to show them where I’ve been if I can.

I also know I need to enjoy Madrid, sweet Madrid, while I can.


So here’s to about 2 months to going home! Wow!


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