I’ve been back in the US for a week now. It’s always a weird feeling to come home after being away, but it’s especially odd to jump back into old routines after living on the other side of the world.
Before studying abroad, I had been warned about the culture shock people experience going to another country and the reverse culture shock they experience when returning to the States. In Sydney, however, I didn’t have the sort of disorientation or stress I was expecting. Australia’s culture is quite similar to that of America, and as traveling between the two countries is becoming fairly common, Aussies are more willing to forgive the occasional mistake an American may make. Another reason for the lack of culture shock was that I was surrounded by other American students. Everyone on the program was undergoing the same experience, more or less, and it was hard to feel isolated with so much familiarity.
Coming home was another story. It was the first part of study abroad where I didn’t feel I could fully relate to those around me. While I had countless new experiences and gained all kinds of new perspectives, home still seemed the same. Picking up where I left off 4 months ago isn’t how I want to continue.
As I go forward from this study abroad experience, I want to take with me the desire to explore and discover. Throughout my time in Sydney, I constantly felt the need to be enriching my life and learning something new.
Why should that stop just because I’m no longer in Australia?
Study abroad isn’t just an excuse to get away for one semester. It’s meant to change your outlook on the world and spark your enthusiasm for traveling and understanding different parts of it. I hope everyone remembers that.