When your study abroad experience comes to an end, it can be a bit overwhelming for many reasons.
You might be:
- Feeling like your time abroad flew by much faster than you expected.
- Wishing that you didn’t have to leave the host country that you’ve grown to love just yet.
- Feeling excited to return home to your friends and family, while knowing how much you’ll miss being abroad once you’re gone.
- Trying to stay present with your study abroad friends 24/7 while you still can.
- Attempting to avoid the fundamental reality of your imminent departure.
- Feeling somewhat shocked by the familiarity of everything once you actually arrive back in California.
- Thinking about how comforting it is to be home, while simultaneously freaking out about the fact that you suddenly aren’t living abroad anymore.
- Feeling surprized about the fact that you’re actually completely fine with being home again, but worrying that the reverse culture shock could set in at any moment.
- Wondering when you’ll be able to travel or live abroad again and where that will be.
- Feeling all of the feels all at once.
If you can relate to any of these things, know that others have been there, too. And it’s completely okay to be experiencing so many conflicting thoughts and emotions.
Transitions like this are never easy. So it’s important to give yourself the space you need to feel what you’re feeling and reflect.
The thing is, once you’re back at home, it’s likely that you won’t actually find the time to do this right away.
You might already be busy focusing on your next steps. Or telling study abroad stories over and over to different family members and friends, without giving yourself a moment to reflect upon the impact that these experiences have had on you.
But sure enough, when the dust finally settles, you’ll have some spare time to think. It’s never too late to reflect upon questions like these:
- Who were you before you studied abroad? What were you excited/nervous about?
- Who are you now? What qualities have you developed?
- What is something that challenged you while studying abroad?
- What is something that you tried for the first time ever?
- Why did you choose to study abroad in the first place? Have your reasons for doing so been satisfied?
- How has your outlook/perspective on life changed?
- How have your goals for the future changed or expanded?
- If you were able to relive one day from your study abroad experience, which day would you choose and why?
- How can you cultivate the excitement of studying abroad while being back at home?
I hope your study abroad experience was everything you hoped it would be and more. Good luck with whatever comes next for you and we hope that you come back and visit England, Scotland & Ireland in the future! 🙂