Returning after being abroad can be difficult depending on, I think, a lot of different reasons. I was abroad for 5 and a half months, basically living what had become a dream of mine since childhood. Living in Europe was a great experience, I would even call it life changing, and it changed my perspective on so many things. If you allow it to, I think studying abroad, traveling, immersing yourself in other cultures, and meeting people from around the world, can truly teach you much about yourself, other people, and the world.
To re-enter the United States is a strange process, and I think it is maybe as valuable as the experience of being abroad in the first place. To be honest, it has been a come-down. I am now back in Amherst, MA, a small town population 30,000, it is bitterly cold and has snowed quite a few times since I returned already. My campus, Hampshire College, is extremely sparse, the student body is small and the campus is small and pretty boring. I have to get back into the routine of things, taking the same paths everyday, to the same 2 or 3 buildings I go to every week, seeing the same few people who I know here. It is a change, from being abroad and living a life completely different from mine, traveling through Spain, Portugal, Italy, and going to Paris…
But this is life. Getting through the monotony of it is difficult, but I have to try. I have a lot of academic issues, trying to start on my thesis means getting together a lot of papers from the past 3 years, writing a retrospective on what I’ve done so far in my undergrad career, a bunch of bureaucratic processes, and finishing up a paper for a class I took a year ago. Can any of it compare to walking through the Louvre, or the Vatican Museum, or simply having fun with a friend riding around on our bicycles at Midnight?
The answer is no, but also, this must be accepted, it cannot be fought against. This is my life now, back here in the Middle of Nowhere, the only thing I can focus on is working hard, so that I can get my degree at the end of the year. Then I can be free again.
NOTE: Mari I miss you! It is my first semester here without you, I hope everything is well in Colombia! Rest assured, I am extremely jealous, but happy for you, living your dreams.