This last week abroad passed quickest of all. I think this was largely because of how busy I kept; classes and final projects were due and work deadlines had to be met, all while trying to squeeze in the last bit of international enjoyment I could. If this week made me realize anything though, it’s that I’m ready to go home. Don’t get me wrong, this trip has been amazing. The experiences I’ve had, the trips I’ve taken, and the skills I’ve developed will not be soon forgotten and I can already tell they will be extremely valuable countless years to come. It’s not that I have a burning desire to leave this place in the rear-view mirror – on the contrary. I love London; the pace of life is fast and fun, the options are endless, the people friendly, the vibe immaculate, and I could easily see myself returning for a long stint in the future. But there’s a certain comfort in returning home that I greatly look forward to.
These past six weeks have flown by, and towards the end I truly started to feel as though I live here. However, when looking at the grander scope of things there are simply too many aspects of American life that I miss for me to dread leaving: my bed, air conditioning, iced beverages, salted food, and left-sided steering wheels to name a few. There are plenty of facets of British life that I wish I could bring with me, but the urge to be on American soil overwhelms nearly all of them. The past couple of days that urge has grown stronger and now, sitting at Heathrow writing my final blog, I find myself increasingly eager for the plane to finish its flight.
I learned so much here, like how to manage life in a bustling metropolis, how to deal with dragged-out public commutes, how to work an office job and meet the associated expectations, and how to seamlessly (or as close to the word as possible) adapt to life in a foreign country. The culture here isn’t drastically different – we are both English speaking nations after all – but many of the minor idiosyncrasies that I initially found quaint and interesting have now started to become slightly irritating, further extrapolating this feeling of homesickness.
Assimilating to an unfamiliar territory is more difficult that I had predetermined. There are some things that you adore, some you tolerate, and some I imagine you never quite get used to. But I think that’s the most interesting part. The one that drives self-betterment. An understanding of cultural differences and the ability to accept, analyze, and adopt them regardless of your view of them is what international experience is all about. You don’t have to love every part of every country you visit. Who would? There are certainly characteristics of America I will never learn to love. But it’s the capacity to truly comprehend, detest, and appreciate these elements that allow you to take full advantage of a trip across the pond; something that will benefit your social repertoire for the rest of your life.