Travel Log 14: “Global Connections and Rites of Seperation” by Sam McGrath Cork, Ireland

Change is something that I am not usually a fan of and I am definitely not looking forward to the 7-hour plane ride home. The actual process of the plane isn’t really the thing I’m dreading, but more the actual leaving. Ireland has become my new home and to leave this new home after all that I have experience here is awful.


Over the four and a half months I have been here I have grown a custom to the very things I thought of as different or strange when I first arrived, like the flow of traffic or the different accents. All the things I was used to, that I had grown up with in America, were no longer present in the same way. I was therefore alone, but being alone turned out to be a good thing. Slimbach states that “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (p.54) As so much changed around me I dwelled into the only thing that was constant at the time, myself. I accepted the weakness and vulnerability that came with my new surroundings and used it to better myself. As I learned about the different world around me, I learned more and more about whom I am and how I thought about the different things affecting my life past and present.


In Ireland I was able to meet people from all over the world, specifically Ireland, and gain perspectives from them I would never have achieved at home. It was scary being among such a diverse group of people; I initially felt I did not have that much to offer to the conversation. But after much talking and learning between my culturally diverse friends I was able to see my worth in the global conversation. I was also able to change my perception on different parts of the world I had previously, changing my inner mind while experiencing the outer world. With the help of my new friends I was able to understand better the different perspectives of different areas of the world and bring that into my own thought process.


These friends that I have met over the semester have given me so much. From offering me different perspectives from various parts of the world to going on adventures around Ireland, we have been through a lot. That’s why the separation from these people is going to be extremely difficult. The many different groups of friends whether it be my roommates form Germany, my new friends from Quinnipiac, my friends from different parts of America, or my friends from Ireland all have planned for a celebration of sorts before the finale of our journey comes. And as the end draws closer and closer, the goodbyes will indefinitely become harder and harder. I have realized that some of these people I may not see again despite the amazing and unforgettable times we have had together. I have had the opportunity to know some of them very well and others I haven’t had the opportunity to know enough. Either way the goodbyes will be hard, but that is why each goodbye is going to be part of a celebration. There’s no point in crying about our time being over because that takes away from time we could still be valuing together.


That’s why all of the different groups of friends have decided to celebrate and as the Irish say “Cheers”. Cheers to the times we had, cheers to the times we argued, cheers to the times we’ll miss together, and cheers to seeing each other soon.


Travel Log 14 “Rites of Separation” Brenda Kittredge. Lugano, Switzerland

Slimbach’s quote perfectly describes the journey I have experienced this semester. As I look back on my journey abroad it is not the places that stand out, but rather my personal journey. I think when most study abroad students, including myself, prepare for their travels they expect some of the cultural differences and prepare for many of the changes in their surroundings. However, we are often not prepared for the change in ourselves. People can tell you how travel affects you until your ears bleed but until you fully experience it for yourself, you won’t understand the magnitude.

The amount that one grows when abroad can be hard to measure and often hard to see. Since it is a change in yourself, it often goes unnoticed. However, when you step back and look at your journey as a whole you get a much better idea of just how far you have come.

One interesting way to mark progress is to see how your ideas of a global citizen and how your actions as a global citizen have changed. When I began the semester I didn’t know what it meant to be a global citizen. I remember thinking to myself ‘Well we are all on this planet and we are all citizens so wouldn’t that make all of us global citizens?” That logic could not have been further from the truth. Using my initial logic I did not acknowledge the time, effort, and desire that needs to be dedicated to becoming a global citizen. Being a global citizen is a responsibility. It requires you to consistently put effort into relating to your surroundings and the world far beyond them. It involves significant levels of respect and tolerance. It involves recognizing and standing up for injustice. Global citizenship is not a right for everyone. It is a learned practice that develops through deep and reflective cultural immersion.

As I prepare to leave Switzerland, I am far more of a global citizen than the day I arrived. I have developed a global perspective and feel the responsibility of respect, tolerance, and justice that come with this mindset.

It is hard to imagine that my four months here have come to an end. It will be incredibly difficult to leave. There are so many things about Switzerland itself that I will truly miss. It will also be challenging to leave all the people I met this semester knowing that we are all heading in different directions. I have developed strong emotional ties to this place and it is hard to wonder when or whether I will be able to return. However, I am so thankful for this opportunity. As the end draws near it is gives me the time to think ahead to how these changes will shape my life. We all have to return home, often to an environment that feels like little has changed. I am lucky enough to have to opportunity to continue my journey abroad. As I adventure to New Zealand I will have a completely different, but hopefully equally as rewarding experience. Having gone through this class and learning about the global community and communitas and knowing the importance of the reflection process I feel more equipped to take on this second semester abroad.

Travel Log 1: “Laying a Foundation” by Aileen Sheluck – Newtown, Connecticut

As my time left in the US dwindles away, the whole concept of studying abroad is becoming so much more real to me. Looking back at the workshops, I’m thinking a lot about the separation phase of the traditional Rites of Passage theory. I know we talked a lot about how effectively separating from your home community is very important in order to truly complete the Rites of Separation. The separation phase is what I know is going to be the most difficult thing for me. We discussed social media, and how that both helps and hurts the separation phase because it makes people able to communicate much easier, even from across the world. This concept really stuck with me, and it makes me think about how often I should be connecting with people from home. What is the correct amount to speak to my friends and family from home? I don’t want missing home to take over my whole experience, but I also don’t want to lose touch with my friends. The workshops also made me think more about thinking, as crazy as that sounds. We talked so much about planning and reflecting, which are things I hardly ever do. Even if I make a plan, I rarely stick to it. I prefer doing things spontaneously. However, I know that, especially going to a different country, planning is really important if I want to get the most out of my experience there. I also know that it is important to reflect on emotions, actions, and thinking. I really want to try to plan and reflect more throughout my study abroad experience. I think that will help to make the whole experience even more enriching.

I know it’s early to be thinking about coming home already, but I also have been thinking about reincorporation, that is, coming home to the US after my time in London. We learned in the workshops that the Rite of Passage should serve as a transformation for the individual and the community in which he or she resides. I think Slimbach put this very well when he said, “Global learning must be not only in the world but also for it. Educational travel should leave the world a saner, stronger, and more sustainable place” (Slimbach 8). This puts a very broad view on the concept of reincorporation into the global society post-studying abroad. He says that you should transform the world through your experience. We have been talking about transforming our communities on a much smaller level, meaning at Quinnipiac or in our hometowns. However, we are becoming changed members of the global community, as well, and I really liked that Slimbach drew attention to that. This really pertains to studying abroad, especially for me. I have spent almost my entire life within the borders of the United States, so I have never truly experienced another culture. I’m hoping that by implanting myself in England I will really get to see what they live like, and how it is similar and different to the US. I also hope that I will be able to, in some small way, make the world a better place.

There is another quote from the Introduction to Becoming World Wise that I believe really connects to the Liminal Phase of the Rite of Passage theory. We learned in the workshops that the Liminal Phase consists of challenges, mentors, communitas, and tricksters. Slimbach writes, “In a world that is smaller and yet more complex than ever before, our educational challenge is to understand and to value both our differences and our commonalities, our separateness and our togetherness” (Slimbach 6). This encompasses the general nature of communitas, since the students that I’m studying abroad with are going through the same experience, so we are similar. At the same time, we’re all from different places and studying different things, so our individual experiences will be different. However, we have to bring our similarities and differences together in order to help each other complete the Liminal Phase.

My birthday was recently (Finally 19), and my mom got me so many things related to London. She got me a traveler’s guide to London, several maps of the city, and this special spray she had researched that apparently everyone uses. You spray it on your shoes to make them water resistant (sinTravelogue Picture Spring2016ce it rains all the time in London). All of this helps me to learn about the place where I’ll be living. I also selected a travelogue to help me learn more about the culture of England. This book is entitled A Fine Romance: Falling in Love With the English Countryside (picture from Amazon) by Susan Branch, an American woman who visited the country parts of England in addition to the cities. I chose this book because I thought it would give me another point of view of England. I will be living right in the center of London, so I know I will be immersed in the culture of the city from the start. But I also know it is really important to experience the countryside as well, because that is part of the culture of England, too. I’m really excited to embark on this amazing journey: 11 days!

Travel Log #2 (Separation) By Chris Wilner

In some instances, the hardest information to share is your own thoughts with the people that are closest to you. This is generally because you aren’t sure how they are going to react to the words that you want them to either hear or read. In order to help my girlfriend understand the thought processes that I am having while entering into this study abroad experience, I decided to address my separation letter to her. I thought she was the most important person to share this information with because we spend almost every single day together and if we are not together in person, we are most likely texting each other. I wanted to share this letter with her in an area that I knew she was comfortable in and I made sure that I wasn’t in the room so she had some time to herself to read it and then we would be able to discuss it afterwards. I didn’t want the information that I was sharing with her to upset her so I decided that it would be better to share it after the holidays so I gave it to her after all of the festivities as a way of winding down the end of the day.

To be completely honest, I was surprised by her reactions, she was anticipating that she would be upset by what I had to share with her as I had informed her that I needed to write a letter for my class and that she was the person that I would be addressing it to. She told me that when I gave her the letter that I should be surprised if I came back to her with tears in her eyes, but to my surprise there was not a tear to be found. Instead, the only initial comment that I received about the letter was that there were some grammatical mistakes that she considered fixing while reading the letter, but went against her better judgment.

With regards to the letter, I decided to use a quote by George Bernard Shaw, which said, “Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” I decided to include this quote because I think it perfectly describes the mindset that I have. I have always had goal that I wanted to accomplish in my life and as I get older, I feel that I am coming closer and closer to those goals. With that being said, I need to take this trip in order to make some changes and without making those changes there will be no progress made. By making that change or separating I can potentially change anything that I set my mind to.

After writing this letter and following through with the exercise, I feel that I am ready to separate form what I am familiar to. I know that there are going to be challenges and this being my first time away from home for an extended period of time I expect to become homesick, but I know that that will only be an initial reaction and as I become accustomed to my new environment it will be hard for me to be able to leave in the end. I think the fact that I am so connected with my friends and family that I may have some trouble in the beginning to separate because they will want to know what I am doing and how things are different over seas, but I have to keep in mind that I am taking this journey to discover myself and what it is like to be on my own in the world.

While looking toward the future and what this experience holds for me, I believe that a successful education abroad experience will leave me having a better understanding of my place in this world and how small the United States is compared to the rest of the world. We, as a nation, are always paying attention to what is happening inside of our country, but only pay attention to the rest of the world when something catastrophic has happened. I want to get away from that thinking and I think by taking this trip, I will be able to find my focus. As Slimbach noted, “The goal of educational travel is to help us navigate this complex and contradictory world while challenging the limits of our intellectual and intercultural abilities.” (Pg. 8,Slimbach) This experience that I am undertaking is to challenge myself in this ever-evolving world and be able to comprehend the reasons why those changes are happening. An unsuccessful abroad experience would leave me taking nothing from the trip and being homesick the whole time, which I could never imagine happening in a million years. In order to measure the success of my journey, I plan on keeping my own personal travel journal to make not of what I am experiencing, in order to be able to recall the memories that are being made as well as something that my friends and family will be able to read when I come home. This journal will be my way of measuring my success because it will allow me to recall everything that I have accomplished while abroad.
I know that there are going to be things that I am going to encounter that are going to be strange to me and since I am expecting it to happen it will not be as much of a shock for me (hopefully). I have always had an open mind so that it the one trait that I am going to rely on when faced with a new experience because you will not learn anything if you are not open to trying something at least once. When I was younger I wasn’t allowed to leave the dinner table until I ate as many bites as our age of something new that was presented to us during the meal. That is a lesson that I am going to remember for the rest of my life because I will always try something once before passing judgment on it.

IMG_1948In order to describe my journey so far, I want to include a picture of my biggest supporter. Although I know that she is going to miss me like no other, she knows that I need to take this journey and she is going to take a journey of her own in order to make some personal growth. This picture symbolizes my journey so far because of there is a separation between my best friend and I but even though there is distance we are still happy for each other because we are following our dreams and that is what this entire journey is about, following my dreams.

Travel Log #1 “Laying a foundation”By Chris Wilner

Have you ever walked into a room not knowing what to expect and dreading sitting in that room for the next six hours or so? Those were my initial thoughts when I had first heard about the mandatory workshops, but I was very surprised at the informality of the entire endeavor. As the two days went on, there were two concepts that really stuck with me from the immense amount of information that was presented. The first concept that really resonated with me working definition of a global community; I thought it was interesting how a group of individuals who were pretty much strangers to one another were able to become a cohesive unit so quickly and work together to create a cohesive thought that did not involve any argument. With such a short amount of time to conduct the exercise, we were able to create a definition that might not have been completely polished, but it got the point across. “A global community is a shared living space of interdependent individuals endowed with universal human rights, while choosing to act upon them, embracing differences, and working toward common goals.”

Another concept that resonated with me was the reflective process; I think this concept stuck with me so much was because I think this entire trip is going to be a reflection for me. The experience of being abroad and depending on yourself and the skills that your parents equipped with you over the years will be an interesting trial of life on your own. The only way of being able to appreciate what you have done in life is to reflect on it and I fully intend on doing so while I am away.

I find it interesting how the contents of this book are so closely related to the concepts being taught in the class. It makes me wonder if the guidelines were written first and then the book was found or if the book was found and then the class was based around it. The concept of a global community is something that I think to be of importance in the journey that we are undertaking and under the heading “The Common Good” in the introduction something similar to that is referenced. Slimbach says “Global learning must be not only in the world but also for it. Educational travel should leave the world a saner, stronger and more sustainable place.” Those words spell out global community to me and by traveling abroad we are able to promote the “common good” and fulfill the global community. It is easy to talk about a particular topic, but it is more effective to have direct contact with the source of the problem. It is like the saying goes “Actions speak louder than words.” We are leaving our homes and the places that we are familiar to in order to gain a deeper understanding of the world around us.

Slimbach makes mention to the concept of separation without directly mentioning the words, he says, “More than likely they will experience a weakening attachment to family and place and gradually branch out, like their counterparts in the West, to create and control their own lives.” I believe that this stage happens at many times throughout our lives and although we may separate it is not always a permanent transformation, but a new status has been created. Slimbach says that the most important aspect of this transformation is that we discover things that are new to us and through this experience we will be doing just that. We are leaving our families and everything that we know behind in order to find out for ourselves exactly what we want. For some it is in an academic sense, for the degenerates it is a life of partying.

In order to be able to fully integrate into my study abroad destination, I believe that the purchase of a travelogue is pivotal and I think like to think that the book I chose is the right one for me. The book thQueenanat I finally decided on after a lot of debate is titled “Queenan Country: A Reluctant Anglophile’s Pilgrimage to the Mother Country” by Joe Queenan and I chose this book because it seemed like something that would be of interest to be. From reading the reviews people talked ab
out the humor in the book and I thought that that was an important aspect because I wanted to be able to read something that I was interested in instead of just buying a book for a class. I also thought it would be an interesting perspective because the author is from New York so I thought that there might be some similar thinking present while on my own pilgrimage.



(Image from

Travel Log #1: “Laying a Foundation” By: Madeleine Harder. Baltimore, MD

Happy holidays to all those who celebrate! It is unbelievably exciting to think that in a little more than two weeks I will board a plane to Belgium, where I be living for the next 5 months (8 if I decide to spend the summer there as well). Everything is falling into place; I found out that I will be living with a host family and have the opportunity to practice speaking French and I was also offered an internship with Clear Europe, a small political communications firm. I’m eager to get on that plane but I have also been reflecting on the concepts I learned from the QU301 workshops.

During our workshop I found the concept of a separation phase very interesting because I had never thought about how my rite of passage could affect others. It is easy to become selfish and think that a study abroad journey does not affect anyone but yourself. However this is not always the case. While this may not ring true for everyone, my parents will be supporting me financially oversees. My actions on this journey will need to be held accountable to these very important stakeholders.

On page 10 in the introduction of Richard Slimbach’s book “Becoming World Wise” the author claims, “Developing a nuanced understanding of our host culture, and grasping our potential to either benefit of damage it, takes time and intentionality.” This quote echoes a sentiment of the workshop teachings. We were told to prepare even before we left for our journey by researching our country in areas such as politics, language, and culture. This knowledge will be reflected in how we behave once we reach our new countries. On an even earlier page Slimbach writes, “It is possible to study—in English—international business in China, international relations in Brussels, international law in South Africa, public health in Kenya, renewable energy in Iceland, film in India, and art in Florence” (6). I will be doing exactly this and studying international relations in Brussels with an end goal of learning how to think differently or at least with a new perspective. Studying and working in another country will boost my cognitive abilities and allow me to see problems from many angles.

bottoms up in belgiumThe travelogue I chose to depict Belgium is a collection of stories written by Alec Le Sueur titled, “Bottoms Up in Belgium.” Le Sueur is originally English but he married a Flemish woman and relocated to Belgium, a land he had never traveled to before. The author is quick to pick on Belgium but he also highlights the many different cultures that reside inside of the Belgian border. Belgium hosts French, German, and Dutch populations and not everyone seems to like each other and work together to run an efficient state. Additionally the city I will be living in, Brussels, is the capital of the European Union so many other countries will be represented.

Travel Log 1: “Laying a Foundation” By Zelia Pantani Branford, CT

While Christmas is one of my favorite holiday’s, the conversations are mostly predictable. For people like myself, who spend Christmas Eve with individuals that I tend to only see once a year I get the full spiel of questions starting with “What’s new? How’s school? What grade are you in now? What are you studying, again?” On a typical year I state the obvious facts: my university, grade, major and how I have zero idea as to what I’d prefer my full-time career to one day be. However, this year, I was able to bring something else to the conversation. Telling extended relatives and family that I will be studying in the French Riviera at an exchange school was definitely not the conversation that they had imagined, nor did I. It is still surreal to me that in a little under two weeks I will be departing on what I consider to be the journey of a lifetime. Unknowingly, my relatives began inquiring about Separation phase of our Rites of Passage that we too discussed back in November. They began asking questions involving my living arrangements and how I would adjust, if I knew anyone else involved in the program and most importantly how my parents and I felt about my safety in France under obvious, current conditions. This comes as one of my biggest challenges before I embark on my journey. While separation is pertinent to my travels, I also need to stay in close contact with my parents to ensure them of my safety at all times.  As Slimbach writes in Becoming World Wise, “More than likely they will experience a weakening attachment to family and place and gradually branch out…” it is an important part of the journey to detach from what is known and enter the unknown. While at first this might be scary since there is so much unknown for my parents and I, over the weeks abroad and my experiences of me branching out, I am confident that some of their and my anxiety will be relieved.

I would be naïve to think that I could say I was studying abroad in France and not told to be cautious of my safety. It is only a natural response to everything that’s occurring the in world today to constantly be aware of our surroundings—a concept that Slimbach touches upon in the very opening pages of his book. Even without current terrorist incidents and various other concerns in our global news, an open perspective and an attentive eye is crucial to my upcoming experience. Even if it is as simple as noticing what the local townspeople’s habits, particular restaurants that are more expensive than others, or where the hotspot tourist locations are, it is imperative to notice my surroundings at any given moment. After some time of course, noticing these things will become second nature. As Slimbach writes “One of the great joys of educational travel, in whatever form, is to experience familiar things with an unfamiliar context” (pg. 5) I can already relate. When I visited London and Paris briefly a few years back, within days I felt assimilated to the culture in some aspects. I noticed in Paris how everyone sat on the same side of the table for better people-watching views of individuals going about their daily lives, but I also felt a similar connection to places such as New York City, where people-watching might be done more discretely than sitting on the same side of the table, but it still occurs.

I am eager to read the rest of this book and have it guide me on my journey, constantly pushing me as Slimbach writes in the introduction “This text will assist anyone who is intent on having his or her whole being—body, mind, and heart—stretched through the intercultural experience but who perhaps is unsure about how to prepare for it or fully benefit from it” (pg. 6). Yet, this is not the only book I am excited to have as a guide while I embark on my journey.

When having to chose a travelogue I had a difficult time since there were many novels that peaked my interest. However, finding humor in satire, I chose to pick one that captured both a love for the French but also highlighted various paradoxes in their culture. “France, a Nation on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” written by Jonathan Miller aims to point out their educational, legal and cultural paradoxes that they pride themselves on. I chose this travelogue so that I am able to have one novel push me educationally, spiritually and physically but also have another informative novel that I can rely on for comic relief.


While I am anxious, excited and unpacked, I can not wait to board a plane on January 4th 2016, knowing that when I arrive on the other side of the “pond”, it will be home for the next four months.

Travel Log 12: “Service” by Jenna Paul. Cork, Ireland.

Right before I left to come back to America I got the chance to volunteer my time at a food bank in Cork called Cork Penny Dinners. I had been trying for weeks to get in to help, but with them moving locations and the holiday season coming up it got a little difficult. Luckily, my time came and it was the most amazing experience for me. Cork Penny Dinners was founded around the time of the Famine and started as a soup kitchen. They have one goal and that is to give a hot meal to anyone who needs one. On their website it states that, “We never judge, we serve.” It is very clear that they are there to help those in need and are open to anyone that needs a little help. When I arrived at Cork Penny Dinners, I was shocked to see how many people were there. Not only was the amount of people shocking, but also the people that were in there was shocking. I saw a few families with children and it really made me sad to think that these kids have to go through that. It made me appreciate my life even more and understand that not everyone is as fortunate. It truly was an eye opening experience.

Volunteering in general is such a great thing to do, but it is an even better experience while abroad because you can feel like you are giving back to a place that has given you so much. It is so important to be part of the Global Community and give back to the world. Community service has so many benefits, one of which is that it is completely free and can mean so much to the people you are helping. The fact of the matter is that we (study abroad students) come into these countries and are clearly so fortunate to even have that opportunity. Taking a couple hours to help some less fortunate people out is the least we can do. And also, it makes you feel so good inside that you could help some strangers out. For most, you can even make their day by just telling a joke or too as well. From this experience I had at Cork Penny Dinners, I will think more about giving back and helping the less fortunate. It is important to understand that some people were just dealt a bad hand in life, and they just need some extra help. This experience has impacted my life because I now can understand the importance of giving back and how much these people appreciate it. One man I was talking to while I was there could not thank me enough for giving my time and he was upset because he could not give me anything in return. I reassured him that I was doing this for myself and he did not need to give me anything. It was so special just to be there helping out in Ireland.

The picture I chose is of a group of girls with volunteer shirt on looking like they are enjoying themselves. Volunteering can be so much fun if you go with your friends or even if you just have the right attitude about it.images There are so many places in the world that need some help and all it takes is a little time.images.jpeg A quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. states that, “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” That is the best part about volunteering. It takes no special skills and doesn’t cost any money. All around the world places are looking for people to help out and after helping out at Cork Penny Dinners I will most certainly look for places around where I live. This day of service was a special day that I will never forget!



Travel Log 15 “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Jared Walsh. Lincoln, Rhode Island

It’s been about a week since my plane touched down in Boston and I’m still not entirely sure of how I’m supposed to be feeling. I’m beyond happy to be back in the United States with my friends and family but at the same time I’m already bored and want to head back to Europe. It’s a weird mix of emotions at the moment.

I’ve found that I’ve become more independent. I have been wanting to do more and more things by myself and also have the ability to do such things, such as plan a trip for this break. Being back home, I’ve definitely realized the differences in cultures between here and Spain. But the good thing is (which I anticipated otherwise) is that I’m not critical in an unhealthy way. I don’t compare the two and say one’s better than the other or have hatred towards the US now that I’ve experience living in Europe. Rather, I notice the differences in the people and the day-to-day life and see how I can apply my knowledge of both cultures to make me a better person and live a more enjoyable life. As Slimbach said, “the postsojourn process should help us to integrate the experiences and insights from the field into our ongoing academic and personal lives” (10). And I’m glad that the experiences and insights from the field will allow me to grow as an individual. Overall I haven’t found that I’ve gathered many unhealthy habits that need to be broken. Nor have I had any major challenges reintegrating with my home community. If there’s one thing I’ve learned while abroad, it’s how to adapt to change. That was something I was definitely lacking prior but I’ve certainly picked up on it, and almost encourage change at this point. So thankfully, my reintegration process has been pretty smooth.

Sharing my reincorporation letter with my family was an awesome experience. It was a way for me to let them know my progress and personal growth I underwent while abroad. It also made them aware to all of the various emotions and phases I’m experiencing right now as a result of coming home. As always, they were extremely understanding. Being in a family of all healthcare workers, they’re used to lots of change in their day-to-day routine. I think that’s made them more aware of how I feel; they understand the effect change has on an individual, although they may not know it to this extent, as they never studied abroad. They’ve acknowledged the fact that I’m more independent and “travel-savvy.” I also believe they’ve noticed that I’m a little bit of a different person than I was before. The quote I shared with them, which is also the quote that accurately represents my thoughts and feelings right now is by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It says: “it’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed is you.” I couldn’t agree more with this quote. Nothing has really changed in my town. A few new houses went up, a couple roads were repaved and a gas station was remodeled. That’s about it. Yet I’m still sitting here knowing that it’s just not the same as before I left in August. I’m beginning to realize that it is me that has changed. I find myself more respectful of the various cultures and people here. I find a new appreciation for those who struggle to speak English when trying to do even simple tasks. But I also find that I’m not nearly as amused with the day to day life here as opposed to back in Spain. But overall, I’m glad to be home and my family is glad to be home. They’re supportive of what I’m going through and are sure to do anything they can to ensure a smooth and healthy reincorporation for me.