Coping with being home after studying abroad, as told by 3 Study Abroad Alum:
In order to cope with the “abroad hangover,” I would recommend not jumping back into the normal college life to the extreme. I found that it was very difficult for me to balance everything between 18 credits, a job, and being involved in numerous clubs and positions after studying abroad. If I could do it over again, I would have not overwhelmed myself and have gotten into the swing of things more slowly. I also found that people seemed to not care as much as I thought they would about my experiences and that they didn’t want to hear me talk about them. One thing that is important to keep in mind is that your friends (at least these ones) were not there with you and just hearing about it does not convey the experience of living it. It’s hard to face everything after having such an incredible time, but I promise with time it gets much easier and the experiences you had will make you a better, more cultured, and more aware person.
– Will Weise, Semester at Sea
If leaving an Australian summer and landing in a Philadelphia winter wasn’t hard enough to cope with, I struggled immediately with severe jet lag. By the time I left the Gold Coast, the time difference was 14 hours ahead of east coast USA time. Needless to say, I spent a good two weeks enjoying a lot of free time from the hours of 3 AM to 6 AM. Other than jetlag, my biggest issue with being home was just how bad I already missed everything. I compared every little thing to how it was in Australia, which basically tortured me. My biggest tip of advice is to just look for all the things you appreciate about being home like plugging something into the wall without an adaptor or eating that one food you’ve been craving for the past few months that they didn’t have in your host country. It’s almost been a year since I went abroad and I’ve learned how to appreciate everything I did without getting too upset over missing it all. It’s definitely a process! It also helps if you have friends from your program to visit or at least keep in touch with. That way you’ll have someone to reminisce with because, trust me, your friends and family will get very tired of listening to you brag about your unforgettable experiences!
– Amy Procaccini, Australia
The biggest advice I have for dealing with returning home after you study abroad, is remembering that you will never stop missing it (which isn’t a bad thing). It has been over a year since I was in Salamanca, Spain with my host family and friends and I still get twinges of sadness that I’m not back there again. But, there are things that can make it easier. First, remember all those pictures you took? DO SOMETHING WITH THEM! Don’t just leave them sitting in a folder on your computer that you never look at. Make a scrapbook, hang them up in your room, showcase where you have been. Next, don’t lose touch with the people you met along the way. Every time I talk to my roommate from Spain, I can’t help but be happy. She and I experienced so much together over the 4 months we were abroad that we are always sharing memories and laughing together. Finally, and probably most importantly, find someone at home to share your stories with whether it be your mom, dad, best friend, boy/girlfriend, whoever! As everyone says, you will find that most people are content with asking you one question about your study abroad (Usually “How was it?”) and then never asking again. But you are going to want to talk about it all the time and you are going to want someone to be interested and excited to hear about it. To this day I still refer to times when I was abroad. Obviously, every person deals with being home differently, but hopefully these tip help a little bit!
– Kelly Rudolph, Spain
Feeling the pain? Check out this article from BuzzFeed on the Symptoms of Study Abroad Withdrawal.
We know you can relate.