When I landed at the John F Kennedy Airport in New York City, I knew my trip had come to an end and that I would have to reincorporate myself back into the regular routine. However, the fact of the matter was that I did not know what that would mean now. A few weeks before I would set flight, I thought about what it would mean to go back home. As I tried to incorporate myself into my home country`s lifestyle, I found a big reverse culture shock happening. During the last school sessions, one of my classes described what we may feel and experience a part of our reverse culture shock. During the study abroad time, I had been constantly readjusting and trying to assimilate to a different culture. However, reverse culture shock is a lot like readjusting and assimilating to my regular life back at home. My reverse culture shock in its first phase included the obvious, shock of being back in America and how my trip was officially over. I was happy to be back home, but I had felt like a part of me belonged somewhere else. This phase included my struggle to stop confusing Celsius for Fahrenheit, Kilometers instead of Miles, and pulling out euro coins for change.
This was the exterior of my reincorporation phase, which in turn led me to question what the bigger value of reincorporation was really about. In my mind, it was about both the positives and negatives about returning home that was going to get me through this process. This was my chance to tell something to my friends and family all that I have experienced and learned. On the other hand, this had a big effect on me because it would guide me through the break and think about how to adapt better. As Slimbach states in the Chapter 8 “The Journey Home” I experienced ” The feeling of simultaneously being “in two minds” often highlights an underappreciated truth: that “home” isn’t just a physical space we inhabit but a lifestyle we construct. It’s a cherished set of values, relationships, places, and rituals that we learn to assemble wherever we are. “No one goes home,” explains Craig Storti (1990). I wanted to keep certain traditions without breaking others, which includes coming together for big lunches and dinners and spending more quality time with my friends. My biggest learning lesson from this was how I can contribute the daily routine from traveling and while studying abroad back in the US. Keeping up with my Spanish would be one way to keep some of the traditions, cooking some of the tapas would be another way. Overall, it is my new found perspective on studying abroad that has convinced me that there are other ways to think about life and how our Rites of Passage can be a way to connect to our culture as well as others.
One of the things I find difficult in my Reincorporation phase is the boredom and sadness I have been battling. Since being home, the intensity of hearing new languages meeting people and traveling have temporarily come to a halt. Although I may not have another opportunity to study abroad, I know I will travel again some day -even though it may not be the same. I have tried to fight this new found boredom by watching more travel channels and shows. Some people might dispell this activity as a big negative because it only shows the “tourist” beauty of the country or islands. Yet some shows travel off the beaten path to find those stories and anecdotes that are told less to show that traveling can be an emotionally enriching activity as you get close to the people that you know.
When I came back to the U.S. my mother saw a slight difference in me. After I had read my letter about my reincorporation she was really proud that I could take the opportunity to travel. A lot of people in my family have never been outside of the United States, but she marveled for the fact I found a new sought independence in traveling. She saw that I could speak more Spanish, even though I oppose that statement, and that I am more relaxed about life. I know that I can bring all of my stories to school, and the ever complex question “So how was Barcelona?” will pop up. However I could tell many stories about how it was, but I want to tell everyone what it meant to me and how it actually made me more of a global citizen. I find myself more interested in global affairs as well as minority affairs overseas, for a long time these two topics have been important to me but my passion for them have become stronger. Hopefully, my college will have more opportunities for me to be involved with this, but I know I can be a responsible citizen by spreading this to my family and friends.
Slimbach, Richard (2012-03-12). Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning (Kindle Locations 3797-3799). Stylus Publishing. Kindle Edition.