My mother studied abroad in London when she was in college so she had always encouraged me since I was little to study abroad. She remembered how weird it felt to return home 25 years ago when she was studying and was well aware of how different it would be for me. I returned home to a house full of my friends surprising me for dinner. I spent the night sharing stories and encouraging them to study abroad, I basically demanded all of them to go. I could definitely see how nobody or anything has changed since I left which is in a way a good thing, but also very strange and I feel I am a completely changed person.
In carrying my experience forward I will be an advocate fort everyone I encounter to study abroad, my family and friends and eventually children will all be required to study abroad and enjoy the incredible experience. In addition I hope my future job will allow me to have an incredible amount of international experiences. The abroad experience has acted as a motivational factor for me to work harder and dedicate myself to my studies and businesses more so that I can again have the ability to afford to travel Europe.
Everything seems to move faster now, its no longer waking up every day to an adventure but now spending hours driving, watching Tv, working, etc.. The “normal” life has come back and it is quite a shock that some people live without a break or incredible experience their whole life. I now see how someone can go crazy without taking a vacation or a break from the daily routine, the only difficulty is it is so hard to realize you are in a daily routine. I need to make sure that I reincorporate myself as a changed person back into home, not to just flip a switch back to who I was, but absorbing the changes and incorporating them into the life I live now.
I believe I will have a few habits to change as I move forward. I will have to be much more organized and goal focused, setting what I have to complete for the day.week.month and completing it. When I was abroad there was little concept of time or assignments or to-do’s it was almost 24/7 fun which was amazing but is completely un-productive. I will have to buckle down the next few weeks and put myself in work mode as I prepare to go back to school next semester, although that 24/7 fun will come back one day as I travel again or take a vacation. What I must learn most of all is life is a balance of work and play, and what I experienced abroad was not a balance, but it was tipped heavily in the play side.
“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old. Familiar pillow.” – Li Yutang
This really struck me as I never really understood fully how amazing of a lifestyle I lived the last four months until I returned home to see how I had always lived. I will use this knowledge as people I know go study abroad to preach to them how they can truly absorb the experience in the moment and realize what they have. Most people are not gifted with a class like this to guide them through the process and open their mind to the beauty of the experience, to truly reflect.