Travel Log 15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Nicole Muckenhirn. East Haddam, CT

Arriving home was surreal.  After almost six months being away from home it somehow felt as if I’d been gone forever, yet at the same time never left.  My family knew I’d be sad about being home so my sister and my five nieces and nephews visited for my first week home.  They tried to ease me back into real life slowly.  This first week home also involved lots of visits with friends and questions about abroad.  I want to tell everyone how amazing it was, but it’s hard to describe.  There is truly no way share what my experience was in words.

Reincorporation is described as how well someone is able to become re-established into their home community after experiencing a rite of passage.  I find it the necessary evil to an amazing trip abroad.  Coming home was not without its ups and downs, a multitude of emotions.  Slimbach writes about how “Coming home can actually take as much getting used to as going abroad ever did, and maybe more.  Where as we anticipate having to adapt ourselves to differences abroad, we don’t expect the same as we set foot back on native soil” (Slimbach 204).  I really relate to this as I found coming home to be difficult.  It’s not that I didn’t miss home and my friends and family, I had become accustomed to and loved my life abroad.  Going home meant no more amazing adventures every day and work and school.  It’s challenging to immediately jump out of this mindset that I was in for 6 months and prepping for many before that. 

            My separation letter was to my mom so it was only fitting that my reincorporation letter be addressed to her as well.  My mom truly made my study abroad experience complete, both by being there if I ever needed her and supporting me financially.  I supported myself throughout my entire study abroad experience but as often happens my budget fell short at the end.  My mom didn’t want me to miss out on experiences with new friends so she lent me money.  I also talked about how it was going to be an adjustment going back to living in someone else’s house and losing a big chunk of the freedom I had become accustomed to.

            And it has been hard for me getting back into my old life.  Reincorporation is filled with boredom, rules, work, and a longing to go back abroad.  Something that helped me adjust to being home the most was speaking with friends who had also gone abroad.  It’s impossible to describe the impact of being abroad to someone who hasn’t experienced it.  It creates a longing for the commmunitas that had been forged overseas. Friends who had already been through their reincorporation phases helped me through mine. 

            Pascal Mercier said, “We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away.  And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there”.  I like this quote because I felt like I left a part of myself abroad.  Not in a bad way, but in a longing.  Australia and New Zealand became my homes and I fell completely in love with them.  I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have left something behind because I brought back so much more in my growth as a person. 

 

 

 

Travel Log 14: “Global Connections & Rites of Separation ” by Nicole Muckenhirn. Kaiteriteri, New Zealand

This post is coming over a month after my educational abroad experience has ended.  Though my semester abroad ended on April 25th, my rite of passage did not.  For the past month and a half, I have been backpacking across New Zealand.  This additional trip added so many layers to my rite of passage.  I went to Australia with some of my friends so I knew I would always have someone there for me to share in the experiences.   In New Zealand I was by myself and it pushed me out of my comfort zone even further.  I had no orientation program where I could find friends, no way of meeting people except to just put myself out there.  This past month I’ve realized that no matter how much I thought I had matured and grown as a person in Australia, there was always more to go.   

            Saying goodbye to friends is never easy.  It’s hard knowing that realistically you probably won’t see everyone again.  My last week in Australia was all about saying goodbyes.  My roommates and I all cooked one last dinner together and my group of friends all went out to eat.  Then on the last night in Australia almost all the kids who lived in my building went to happy hour for our final goodbyes.  It was a sad night.  Everyone was crying and hugging and making plans to see each other in the future.  It was strange for me because I wasn’t going home, not for 44 days.  Everyone talked about how excited they were to see their family and friends and how they missed home so much.  In some ways it made me sad that I wasn’t going home, but I also knew that within a week of being home people would get the post abroad withdrawals and want to come back. 

            I think my goodbyes in New Zealand are actually harder.  All the close friends I made in Australia are within reasonable distances to visit from home.  But, the friends I’ve made here are from all over the world and it will be so much harder to ever see them all again.  The group I’ve been with for the past month is slowly going our separate ways and the goodbyes are always hard, but we’ve promised to keep in touch. 

            Slimbach states that “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (54).  I think that Slimbach is trying to point out that to get the most out of an experience abroad, we have to be open and willing to let the experience impact us.  I have learned so much while abroad, not just about the countries I’ve been to, but about myself.  I’ve realized how important traveling the world is for me personally and it’s made me extremely passionate about being able to do so again. 

            Everyone’s asking me if I’m excited to go home.  It’s a tough question.  I’m excited to see my friends and family, but I’ve fallen in love with traveling.  Every day I can’t help but marvel at how lucky I was to get the opportunity to get outside the U.S.  It’s almost time to reincorporate back into my own culture and it’s slightly disappointing.  Going home is going back to the real world.  I have my job lined up and I’m working 6-7 days a week over the summer to try to earn back some of the money I spent.  Though I’m sad, I’m not going to go home being mopey.  I had a once in a life time experience and I want to show people back home how it made me into a better person. 

Travel Log 15 “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Elizabeth Marino. Orange, CT

I was filled with mixed emotions when I returned to Connecticut. I was sad to leave the new lifestyle I had developed for the past three and a half months, but I was also so excited to be reunited with comforts from home. I couldn’t wait to see my dogs, to sleep in my own bed, and to wake up with the sound of chirping birds rather than the ever-present city background noise. After being somewhere foreign for a while you long for something comfortable, but after being in such a stimulating environment, comfortable gets old fast. I think this is one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced thus far. After maybe the first three days of being home, I found that I was growing increasingly bored. I feel as though I marveled at something new each day while in Europe. Here, almost everything is familiar and lacking excitement.

Luckily for me, I will be thrown into a new environment again this summer. With a summer internship in Boston, I will be venturing into another unknown environment. While it may not be nearly as big of a jump of going from The United States to Europe, it will still be unfamiliar territory. Prior to my trip abroad, I was nervous about moving to Boston alone. With the experience I have gained in Europe, I now have the confidence to welcome this challenge and look forward to the new experience I will gain.

I started off reading my letter of reincorporation to my family with the quote “‘You can’t go home again.’ That’s because you’re probably a different person than when you left,” from Slimbach’s chapter eight (location 3728 of 4428). I wanted them to understand right of the bat that I was a new person. Slimbach stated, “Expect that most of the positive changes in your life will not be immediately obvious to others. They are likely to appear as covert competencies” (location 4917 of 4428). Like Slimbach expressed, I believe a lot of the ways in which I have changed is the way in which I think. This may not be so apparent to my family and others around me. I’m glad I started with this quote because my family expressed that they respect any new person I’ve become although they do not yet recognize or see me as a new person. I definitely thought that was fair I’ve experienced more subtle, internal changes that aren’t so easily identifiable from an outside perspective. In one simple way to express how I’ve changed, I showed them a picture of me on my solo trip to Alicante. It was a picture of me happily eating alone at restaurant for dinner. I chose to show them this picture because before Spain, they would have never imagined that I would travel somewhere alone, and that I would enjoy it too!

I will carry my experience forward in the way that I live my life. Before studying abroad, I was so content to just stick to my daily routines. I liked comfortable. Now, I plan on branching out more in the way that I was forced to do in Barcelona. I am one of those people that will go to the same 5 restaurants any time I want to eat out. Now, I will force myself to try new places, and to lengthen my list of adored restaurants. This seems like something so mundane, but it’s a simple way to find excitement even in familiar areas. Another way to carry my experience forward is to “Embrace a sustainable lifestyle” like Slimbach suggests. I feel like I developed such wasteful habits in my American life. It’s a bit shameful to admit, but I never recycled that much before going to Europe. While living in Spain, it became second nature to me to separate my trash due to the different bins I had to bring it to. Now, I found myself breaking my old habit of throwing everything in the same trash. I’ve been recycling all my plastic bottles and cardboard boxes. Again, it’s a simple change but something that hopefully makes a difference.

Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub. LLC., 2010. Kindle.

Travel Log 15: “Rites of Reincorporation” by Janine Jay. Old Greenwich, Connecticut

I hauled by 100+ pound bags across the whole of London, to Heathrow with my muscles shaking by the end of it. I finally got to sit down on the plane for 8 hours and in that time leaving this new home of mine it really started to hit me that the past five months were really coming to a conclusion. Could I really be going home already? I started to make a mental list to see that I’d covered everything on my London bucket list. It seemed like the plane was going through a portal taking me to a new world I had known forever, but that will never be the same to me after this journey. After piling my bags in the car and cuddling my puppy in the back seat, my parents told me that the dog had started to bark out the window and get excited even before I had left the airport; she somehow knew I was there. To me that was the sign that I was where I belonged. If there is one thing that I have absolutely learned from this trip, it’s that home is where your loved ones are, the memories and good times will always follow that.

It’s hard to believe that I was thousands of miles away only a week ago but since coming home it’s been a whirlwind of family visits and endless questions about what my favorite part was. (I still can’t answer that myself, I loved everything!) I think the hardest part of this all was trying to finish everything I needed to do in the week I was home amidst my parents packing for a trip of their own and half of my house being under construction. But amongst this chaos is home, my family has always been a fast-paced group of people who always are moving onto the next adventure. If I had come home to everything orderly, then it simply wouldn’t have been home. Besides, who wants to slow down when there is so much life to live?

In my letter of reincorporation, I shared a quote by Paul Fussel who commented, “In that travel provides at least temporary escape from inherited traditions and personal identity, it can be seen as an act of rebellion, a means of separating oneself from the dominant influences of kith and kin in order to define and assert an identity of our own. I travel; therefore, I am.” (2010, pg. 203) This quote struck me because it showed to my parents how this experience has changed me as an individual, separate from my family ties and now it is my mission to combine the new person I am with the communities I’ve grown up in. My parents were very supportive of all that I have done in the past few months and continue to be supportive every day. They always helped me out when I had a question and always offered ideas of things to do in the places I visited so that I could experience everything that I could. They made sure that I was comfortable and ready for each next step. It means the world to me that I have them as a support system. I wouldn’t have been able to study abroad in the first place, physically or emotionally without them.

Now that I am back in the states, I have been looking for ways to make sure that the patterns I had learned in Europe continued in my life here. As I read Slimbach’s paragraph on habits, I remembered how I had started to create routines during my journey that were really beneficial. When I started my time in London I made my bucket list, so that I would always have a next step of what to do. I learned to plan ahead and to make sure that every day I left the dorm by mid-morning so that I would experience everything I could instead of remembering my time from inside a dorm room. These routines and rules let me explore areas of London that I hadn’t known existed before just from walking around aimlessly. To continue with these patterns here, I plan on keeping my mid-morning rule and to create a bucket list for each new phase of my life- including both my internship this summer, and senior year. I learned to be a more relaxed person in Europe and enjoy everything that comes my way. As Slimbach remarks, “Realize that, in the end, explaining one’s personal transformation is not nearly as important as living it.” (2010, pg. 210) I want to show all of the people around me that Europe has changed me for the better and that and that as a result I will bring the ideals I have learned there with me everywhere I go.

 

Works Cited

Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Kindle for Mac.

“Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” By: Joseph Sansevero. Budapest, Hungary

Community based rituals are simply absent from the American culture, and this creates large problems in the development of our young adults. In my experience growth can be stunted or go unrecognized because of the lack of a ritual signifying a life transition. While this ritual can manifest in multiple ways it there is no real equivalent besides graduating either high school or college. That ceremony is supposed to be a cookie cutter ritual representative of your journey and growth through your education. The issue with it is it is to universal and does not necessarily teach a lesson. To contrast the American way the thing that comes to mind for me is the Australian culture for young adults. It is extremely common for university student aged kids to have lived on their own for a few years during school. Usually they will pay for themselves, buy an apartment, pay for their own food, have a job. Doing this teaches them responsibility, and allows them to learn to fend for themselves. Yet furthermore after they have reached the peak, graduation, they will continue their learning by doing what is called a walk-about; which is basically a culturally accepted and encouraged exploration of the world. This is meant to further your worldly understanding and is a community ritual that signifies a life transition.

From my perspective the American equivalent of this should be a study abroad semester. I believe that everyone should be required to take a semester abroad; it should be a part of the American education system. I think it is an incredible experience, while it can be extremely difficult that is what makes it amazing. You learn so much about the outside world and begin to understand other peoples. In this way you can begin to better understand yourself and gain an inner confidence knowing that you know the things that you like and can feel empowered to accomplish your goals.

This being said creating a digital story is a good ritual to allow for the full reflection upon your personal journey during your abroad experience. It can be representative of a life change, and allows you to realize where you were to where you are now which can be an extremely powerful tool for understanding. I will use my digital story to sit and reflect on my personal journey and growth, as well as looking to the future. When I get back to the USA I will be beginning my internship and starting my career. The following school year will be entirely dedicated to planning out the next few years of my life, as I have no real plans up until this point. I want to use my experience abroad in Budapest, Hungary as a stepping stone to launch my next area of growth and experience. I realize that I would really enjoy living and working in a different portion of the world and would love to spend and extended amount of time in another place. My goal will be to land a job in a different country on a different continent that I have never been to before. I believe this will give me an opportunity to learn and grow more so than any other job that I could obtain back in the United States.

I do not think there are really any digital stories that would speak to me more than another simply because the only thing that I will connect to is the fact that each person that comes abroad feels as though they have grown and enjoyed their experience here. Yet each person has an entirely unique form of growth that was beneficial for them, for this reason I will not feel personally connected to anyone in particular’s story. I do believe that the best way to represent the experience is through discussing how you have changed and what was important to you. A monologue of your experience is good but it is more important to talk about the personal growth and understanding you had. For this reason I am going to write as honestly as I can and describe all of the highs and the lows and what it means to travel abroad.

“Service” By: Joseph Sansevero. Budapest, Hungary

The impact of volunteering can be unimaginable. I have been engaged in volunteering my whole life. My first experience with volunteering was coaching a recreational basketball team in my home town of Bolton, Connecticut. This was one of my favorite experiences to date; I began this journey in my sophomore year of high school. I continued my coaching career for the next three years and absolutely loved every minute of it. It was amazing because I was able to have such a great impact on the kids that I was coaching, not only was I able to teach them a sport that I loved to play myself, but I was also able to teach them about life, respecting one another, and having fun. Being able to teach them and watch them grow over the three years that I had some of the kids was an amazing experience and to this day if I see the parents of the kids or the kids themselves we always stop and have a chat because of the impact that we had on each other. These kids not only were a lot of fun but they also taught me a lot about myself and what I was capable of. Volunteering has a funny way of giving back to the one doing the service; I felt enlightened and in improved by experience. Not only did I become a better leader from learning about the players and understanding their motivations, but furthermore I became a better individual. I learned the importance of listening to one another and the concept of seeking to understand and then to be understood.

I brought my service experiences with me abroad, especially in my first journey to Guatemala. This service trip was centered on helping the students at a school by developing their marketing through computers. But furthermore we interacted with the students and learned about their daily life so that we may have a better understanding of the impact that we would have upon the school. It was an incredible experience that was humbling as well as enlightening. This experience taught me about the opportunity that is truly available to us in the United States. The education system in Guatemala includes educating the students on how to be successful in a tourist market, which was astounding to me. While they would learn math, science, and how to read and write, these basic subjects were supplemented by classes where they would learn to make products to sell to tourists. This was eye-opening that the best opportunity lied within tourism and that education would not be useful to the students without this.

My service in Budapest has been to help students in middle to high school learn English. I have discussed before in previous journals that English has become a lucrative tool for students and is why it is taught in most schools. Yet it is another example of how opportunity is limited in other nations. It is more economical to learn English at a young age in the same way that the kids in Guatemala learn how to make bracelets. By adapting to their circumstances and understanding what will likely be the most beneficial to their well-being, education systems have adapted. Yet it essentially requires that the world caters to the larger cultures as not only are they one of the more influential, but it is the economically intelligent decision to adapt and adopt. Yet in my volunteering experience the children had an amazing impact on me as they have become extremely friendly to me. They wish to constantly learn and understand because they find English and American culture fascinating; this has allowed me to learn about their culture as well. I think it is extremely important to learn about foreign cultures as it creates a much greater context. It is clear that the American culture is in a way taught in other school systems, yet we do not necessarily have that experience in America, which makes it easy to turn a blind eye and go your entire life without understanding another culture. This is why I believe it is extremely important to travel otherwise you will never be able to fully understand people, and interpret why people do the things they do. The more culture you can understand the more universally you can see humanity shine through surface interactions.

 

“Holding up Half the Sky” By: Joseph Sansevero. Budapest, Hungary

The overall message of the book Half the Sky can be described as understanding how women are oppressed around the world. Every corner of the Earth has some form of oppression and a large portion of that is directed at women. While every nation has a varying degree to which this oppression comes to fruition, it is important to note that any oppression or disparity is not acceptable. Even in America there is clearly still a disparity in the way we approach women’s issues as well as their role in the work place. It is still common that women are unable to advance past certain points in their career and are often paid less for the same work. Furthermore even the way we approach women’s products the sheer fact that they are not included under the protection of some insurance plans is incredulous.

I think one of the stories of that really impacts me is Hillary Clinton’s. Personally I have a connection to Hillary as she was my Aunt’s employer for an extended period of time, but furthermore she was one of the first women to ever have a chance to take the presidency. She was the first women to be the democrat’s presidential candidate, and once that was the case immediately the misogyny began. Here we have an extremely qualified, intelligent, and successful woman who had dedicated her entire life to this country through the means of being a public servant and doing things in the name of woman and other poorly represented communities. Yet when brought to the eye of the public in what has been called on e of the dirtiest campaigns of all time often Hillary was subjected to stereotyping and treatment based on her gender. I believe that one of the harshest examples of this was the fact that often the ridicule that she was given was not for mistakes that she had made throughout her career but rather that of her husband. I remember distinctly a moment when at the time presidential candidate Trump, now acting president, came after her relationship with her husband and his actions. This is something that would never be brought to the attention of a man and his wife’s actions and in fact is amazing that this statement even had any traction. A debate is supposed to be about discussing the important topics that the people of this nation want to know. Yet we were forced to witness the petty misogynistic comments simply because of the gender of one of the candidates.

While currently I study Computer Information Systems and Finance, it is my goal to eventually study economic policy and decision making so that I can make an impact in the political sphere locally as well as globally. One of my main focuses is the economic disparity between men and women. One of the largest arguments in favor of the disparity between men and women has historically been that women are more likely to get pregnant and leave work either for maternity leave or permanently. This added risk is often the reason or excuse for the gap in pay even if the work is the same. Objectively this makes sense from a business perspective, yet morally this is an injustice and can be solved by simple economic policy that is active in other developed nations. The concept of mandatory paternity and maternity leave is enforced on companies, which eliminates this risk by leveling the playing field. If both the mother and father are required to take this leave then the only disparity between a man and a woman should be their education and work performance. This is an economic tool that should allow for the gap to be closed further. Furthermore paternity leave shows that it is extremely helpful in a child’s development as well as aides in decreasing stress on a relationship and allows for happier individuals. This is good for the nation as well as improves productivity at work, because it allows for a greater work-life balance reducing stress and improving effectiveness.

“Encountering Globalization” By: Joseph Sansevero. Budapest, Hungary

Globalization has become one of the largest focuses across many intellectual spheres. Whether it be politics, business, or academia, all spheres agree that it is happening and the effects are so grand that it is hard to determine whether or not it is having a positive or negative impact on the world. From my perspective it is happening no matter what we do, so it is imperative that we minimize the negative effects and work towards positive global change. In my last journal I discussed a very interesting conversation that I had with another student who was abroad from Japan. This was one of the many examples where people from all around the world have come to study in Budapest and at my university, Corvinus. The university is largely a global community; I have met individuals from over twenty different countries. This fact alone shows globalization occurring constantly. While there are classes taught in Hungarian, a majority of the classes here are taught in English. This is because English has become the language of business and is one of the most necessary ways to communicate with people around the world. This is an example of globalization because it directly notes how business is a force for cultural change. It is economically advantageous to learn English if it is not your first language because not only does large nations like England and America speak English, but it has become the language of Europe. If you wish to travel between nations here it is expected that you know some English, as this will likely be the mutually learned language between the two countries.

The global community at Corvinus also drives other discussion and brings in completely varied concepts and ideas. I believe that any intellectual discussion had whether in an academic setting or a more casual interaction, adds to the progression of globalization. In my Organizational Behavior class we are constantly having discussions on how there are different frames of though in varying places. One of the first classes we had the professor had us do an exercise where we had to write down three separate problems, one that applied to our home community, one that applied to our home nation, and one that applied to the global community. What was extremely interesting to me is that a lot of the problems were similar especially when it came to people’s view of their home nation and the global community. For example, the man next to me a fellow master’s level student from Germany had the exact same problem with the global community as I. We both wrote the singular word, “populism”. While we both had separate reasons for this we both recognized the growing trend of how nationalism and populism were leading to some of the world’s largest issues. In America currently we are dealing with a populist movement spearheaded by President Donald Trump. Yet in other nations there are similar leaders and events that are based in nationalist pride and populism. England had Brexit was entirely backed by a populist movement who believed that their nation was the best and was being held back by the European Union, but largely were uneducated about what the real consequences were for leaving. Furthermore in the French elections there was Le Pen who was entirely a populist and blamed France’s issues entirely on immigrants from other nations endangering the prosperity of their nation. This being said the political landscape seems to be shifting as people recognize the impact of blindly following a nationlist. One of the large reason that Le Pen has recently suffered a large defeat was due to how poorly some of these populist movements have done after they had been put into place.

This all being said it is extremely interesting to watch the landscape constantly change around us, and being in a large community made up of extremely varying cultures and peoples allows for productive and interesting conversation. This sharing of ideas really has led to a better understanding of the globe and the positions that average educated students have about their respective nations

Travelogue 15: “There’s no place like home,” Breanna Hegarty. Whitehouse, New Jersey.

While on the plane back home my biggest fear was that everything would be different back home, that everyone has changed and that I wouldn’t fit in. Yet as I sat with my friends and family during my welcome home (reincorporation) barbeque I realized that my biggest struggle wasn’t with those who have changed but those who have remained the same. Unlike most people who come back home from abroad to the same lifestyle and home, I came back home to a mostly different life. I came back home to a new house, a different car, a new born baby and a new job. For me, everything was different and new, which made my reincorporation a little easier because I was so focused with adapting to all of those new changes instead of going through the same old routine. It wasn’t until being around my parents, who haven’t changed at all, did I realize how much I actually changed. They acted as if I had never left and wanted me to pick up exactly where I left off, yet I found myself unable to do that. It felt wrong, I wasn’t that person anymore. My Parents cared little about my experience abroad and focused more on the fact that I was finally back. The best way I could explain myself and my experience to them was that “I found a new self” (Simbach, p. 210). I couldn’t exactly describe how I have changed, it just felt as though I am more awake, aware of the world and what it has to offer. I didn’t find myself caring about frivolous things and cared more about the bigger picture of my life. To better help both myself and my family and friends adjust to the new me was to tell them and myself to be patient and open to the changes to come and to not force myself back into the old routine. One change that I intend on taking from my experience abroad is to limit the amount of waste we produce on a daily basis by: walking more, limiting the amount of electricity we use while also emphasizing recycling and compost. Also the most beneficial daily practice that I took from abroad and Simbach, that I want to incorporate into my new life and the lives of those around me, is taking time from the day to connect with nature and reflect. I also intend on bringing global knowledge and awareness to the QU community through the Irish club that I am now president of.

 

Although my experience abroad has forever changed me and will be with me forever, I do not find myself homesick for it, just like I did not find myself homesick for America while in Ireland. And I think it’s because for me home is where I make it. I will never forget Ireland and the home I made there, but now it’s time for my next adventure. I also know that it is never goodbye, but simply, till next time. Simbach perfectly depicted my idea of what home means to me, he states “Home isn’t just a physical space we inhabit, but relationships, places and rituals that we learn to assemble wherever we are” (p.208). My goal throughout life is to expand my “home” as much as I can. I want to continue traveling and learning about the world, because the more I learn and experience the world, the more I begin to notice who I really am as a person.

 

 

Sources:

Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub. LLC., 2010. Print.

Travel Log #14 “Global Connections & Rites of Separation” By Andrew Rivera Barcelona, Spain

 

“If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” said by Slimbach. Throughout all of our readings he has provided us with numerous quotes that we can relate back to our study abroad experience. And now that it is coming to an abrupt end we can really reflect on our time overseas. In my personal experience I was able to travel to other countries and saw many cultures that were different from the states and from my host country. This connects back to the quote, I was able to see the world and dive deeper into the culture by the food, people, museums, and sites. Also by many of the videos and readings throughout the semester had an impact on me because I was able to see many different sides of cultures around the world.

All of my experiences have molded me into a brand new person. Before my time abroad I have never been to Europe, I have only heard stories from family and friends, and seen pictures from their travels. But now that I have lived in Spain for four months and have gotten to know the culture, values, and social norms of Barcelona I feel as if I am in the slightest bit a local. Towards the end of my time abroad I was the one getting mad at the amount of tourists in the city, and how many people were in the streets in general. But at the start in January I was a tourist myself. It was funny to me how in such a short span I was able to adapt and change to a culture that was so much different to what I was used to for my entire life.

As this journey comes to an end I can truly say that I had the time of my life, and it was a life changing experience. I met people that will be my friends forever, and that I will definitely meet up with in the future. I traveled to places that I wouldn’t have even imagined going to, and I have memories that will last me a lifetime. Now that I have to say goodbye to the people that I have built relationships with and not know when the next time I will see them is very hard to do. We will probably go out to a nice dinner with some drinks for one last hoorah. It will be a sad time, but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.

My emotions at this point are very mixed. Since my family visited just two weeks before I got home I really missed them for the last weeks, but I really felt like I could live in Barcelona forever. I have been talking to my friends back home more since I will soon be with them, and my parents have been preparing for my return home as well. I am very anxious to go home since I haven’t seen my extended family in four months but I still want to travel and explore more. But I know that I have to snap back into reality when I get back home.

IMG_5677One quote that I would say highlights my emotions after studying abroad it would be from a travel article that I found online. It is by Ibn Batutta, “Traveling – leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story teller.”