Coming home from being abroad can consist of a whirlwind of emotions. After spending three and a half months in Florence, I knew I was ready to come back to Minnesota. I missed my family, friends, and boyfriend, and especially the simplicity, comfort, and familiarity of home. Yet, I remember wishing that my last week in Florence would last forever. For so long I had thought I was ready to come home, but after walking the Florentine streets millions of times, hearing the street performers, hearing Italian being spoken left and right, a part of my heart felt like it was tearing when I boarded the plane to come back to Minnesota. I was filled with mixed emotions.
After being abroad, it takes a while to settle back into the swing of things. Here are a few feelings and/or occurrences that you might experience at home after studying abroad.
1. Feeling overjoyed to be back home. After living in a different country for a few months, simply put, it feels awesome to be back in the homeland. There is no longer any worry about getting hit by a bus when walking on the sidewalks, or getting lost in winding streets. Everything comes with ease comfort.
Seeing friends, family, roommates, and even simple acquaintances again is exciting. Saying hello to people you pass, and getting a smile in return. You start to realize all the little things about home you never thought about before, and how truly special it is.
2. People change. After living in another country, you probably realize you have grown in many ways, and have learned a lot through your travels. Studying abroad makes a person become more independent and more knowledgeable about the world around them. Skills that have never been tested or needed before at home arise, and you may realize you are really good at things you never knew you were. But while being abroad, your friends and other people in your life are changing as well. They’re going through different experiences, ones that you weren’t able to participate in. Roommates may have grown closer together while you were away, or big events on campus may have occurred.
Coming back home and back to your home campus may seem a bit challenging at first. It feels weird being back to familiarity. You’re excited to see your old friends again, yet they have gone through so much while you were away, it may be hard to connect like the old times. And this is okay. People change, just like you have while being abroad. The majority of the times, the change is a good thing, and soon, things will start feeling normal once again. It jus takes a while to adjust.
3. Flashbacks. Once back home, little things that may occur day to day will make you remember a memory from being abroad. While sitting in class, you may daydream about gelato, or the awesome hike you went on along the coastline, or your neighbor’s bird chirping outside your window every morning. You’ll experience flashbacks of all the amazing times you had while being abroad, and will wish you could go back. These are the memories that will last a lifetime, and they are something to cherish.
Nicole M. Giovannoni
Gustavus Adolphus College
Studying abroad in Florence, Italy was an experience that will never be forgotten. While abroad, I took a few courses that introduced me to Italian history and culture. I learned about wine and food by walking through the Florence streets and markets, sampling the foods and drinks while listening about the history behind them all. Best yet, studying abroad through SAI gave me a great excuse and opportunity to finally meet my Italian family, living only a few hours away from the city of Florence. My international experience allowed me to connect and learn about my Italian roots, and to gain knowledge about the Italian and European cultures overall.