When I was studying abroad for the year at the University of Sussex, I did not return to California during the winter holidays like some study abroad students do. I missed California, my home and my friends, but by mid-December I had adjusted to England, Brighton and my Host University – I considered myself a student at the University of Sussex, not a visitor. Studying abroad felt like a fantastic dream, a different world than my life back in California; returning home for two weeks meant returning to reality and readjusting, then trying to adjust once more to the life of a study abroad student. Luckily, my parents didn’t mind visiting me and spending Christmas in the United Kingdom.
As an intern in England, rather than a student, it no longer feels like a completely different world. I don’t live on an enclosed campus and I don’t see the same people every single day. I feel like any other person working full-time in a city, so I was excited to visit home in December. I knew it wouldn’t be as disruptive as returning home in the middle of studying abroad would have been for me. I treated my trip as if I were going on “vacation” to California, and with that mindset the adjustment process was not difficult when I arrived in Berkeley, nor was it difficult when I landed in London again.
By taking a break in California, my enthusiasm and appreciation for London and England were renewed. I loved being able to see my family, friends and, of course, my cat, when I was in the US, but I also found myself missing all that the UK has to offer. I missed the myriad of free museums, the abundance of old architecture I have access to as soon as I step out of my flat, and I even missed taking the tube when I need to get somewhere. Suddenly, the crowds didn’t bother me as much.
Last time I returned to California from England, I had no idea when I would be going back. This time around, it was nice to know I would be returning in a few days.