Many of us return from studying abroad with reverse culture shock, sound familiar? I know that it happened to me. I found myself wanting to go back and study abroad almost more than I did the first time, it felt different; I felt different coming back home. Why does this happen?
When you study abroad you become familiar with travelling around new places and countries (sometimes alone) as well as learning how to communicate with new people and cultural differences. You learn about all of the possibilities in the world that are waiting for you to discover them. You realize that you can a ctually live in a completely different place for a long period of time, and that you c an a ctually survive by getting out of your comfort zone. Studying abroad is more than just a vacationit’s where you learn who you are and your potential.
Many of us study abroad for different reasons, and whether it’s simply to travel, take classes, boost your resume, or meet new people, you never expect to find your courage. It kind of creeps up on us and then all of the sudden we return from our study abroad and realize how much we have grown, changed. We find new resilience to situations that may have stressed us out before, and that gnawing desire of adventure that makes us feel uneasy because we want to keep travellingwe aren’t scared to try new things anymore. How do we pick up where we left off once we get back from studying abroad?
First, we use the experiences from studying abroad and apply them to our everyday lives. A few examples of ways I’ve found I could adapt my lifestyle is walking more to class, like I did while I was in Italy. Some other ways include getting to know new people around campus by branching out and making friends with them like I learned to while I was studying abroad and didn’t know anyone, or by not relying on my phone to communicate with people, because most of the time while I studied abroad, I didn’t have access to phone service. These little things helped me ease back into coming home from studying abroad w hile allowing me to put into practice the values that I learned while studying abroad. And second, it’s not going to be easy to pick right back up where you left off before you left because you grow and change while you’re studying abroad. These are all good things because we are more intune with ourselves, who we are, our potential and we’ve learned from experiences how much we can handle by living in a different country for so long.
So now what? Well I’m glad you asked. There are countless programs to study abroad with during your undergraduate degree, as well as during graduate school, or with programs to volunteer abroad, jobs and other professional opportunities that you can apply towards by having study abroad experience under your belt already. These programs often have scholarships, or financial assistance that you can apply for, and they look for people who are confident in who they are and that have the courage to go on a new adventure.
Once you get back from studying abroad, don’t let anything hold you back. If anything, use studying abroad as a way to benefit others who might need a little help to realize their full potential and how they can make a difference in the world. Whether it’s simply to travel, take classes, boost their resume, or meet new people, you can help others find their courage and make a difference in the world. Just like you did :)
Kansas State University
Studying abroad was hands down the best decision I have ever made. I was able to experience a completely different world of living, different foods, people and culture traveling around Europe. I was able to use my internship for professional growth, and satisfy credit classes towards my degrees with the classes I took abroad, while getting to visits historical sites such as The Eiffel Tower, The Cliffs of Moher and The Swiss Alps just to name a few! I never realized how much of the world there is out there to see, and ultimately, to learn from. You will come back home and not be scared to take spontaneous trips because you’ve grown into a more well-versed person from studying abroad.