Travel Log 15 “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation.” By: Alexandra Borges. Hamden, Connecticut.

It’s been one crazy roller coaster ride. I’ve been home for about a week now and it’s just flown by. I feel as if I’m almost not even present in my being, I’ve literally been living day to day. It’s not so much a result of shock or being overwhelmed since my return, but rather it’s because I didn’t really get a nice transition into my return from abroad and beginning the semester here back home. I literally went from airport to bed and the next morning drove up moved in and attended classes. I didn’t really get a little break to adjust back to the flow of things back home. Even so, I don’t really feel disadvantaged at all. I mean granted being home feels so different, but it’s not a bad different.

As I look back to 1 week back I remember mentally preparing myself for the separation from the friends and makeshift family I made in my host country and the country itself. It was definitely a bittersweet situation and still is. I mean I wanted to see the family I hadn’t seen for almost half a year, but at the same time I didn’t want to leave those who I had grown close with in my host country. No matter who and where you travel there is no way you can’t grow attached to the people and environment around you. It was just how I started this journey in the first place except now I knew where I was going and where I came from. Now when I think about it, it’s not just the people and the country, but the effect those people and places had on me. Since coming back home even with all the rushing, I still feel at ease, not in matters of school obviously the beginning of the semester is always hectic, but rather as a person. I feel satisfied with the person who came back and how she’s changed from the girl who left almost 6 months ago.

I know from what we read in chapter 8, Slimbach talks about the 3 types of returnees and I’d like to think of myself as the: “integrative returnee”. This trip beyond the people and the places I saw, though important, it was a journey that led me to discover things about myself and gain wisdoms and knowledge or the world around me. It’s strange to compare it to liminality because I don’t mean it in the way we spoke about it earlier in the semester. I mean in the sense that my being and thoughts aren’t just encompassing my home thinking or my host country thinking, but a combination of the two. I feel comfortable questioning things that I never thought of or paid attention to before.

I had a really long conversation with my folks on the way home from the airport and we really talked about everything. Dealing with how I felt when I left home to the first month to the end of my trip to returning home. It was a lot of mixed emotions and feelings, with leaving and coming back. We talked a lot about my outlook and plans for the future, I have this drive to push my ideas and plans down the path that I choose. I discussed with them how I reflected a lot on my future and past which elicited some emotions with all of us, especially talking about my reflection of the past. I think if anything my time abroad taught me to be more open about things I kept to myself. It was nice to be able to finally share my thoughts with my family and having them understand the person I am and will grown and continue to be. I mean not anything drastic, but I was never one to share my feelings (i.e. Upset, stressed with, or sad) with anyone and would keep them in and I’ve done fine, but there’s a nice pressure off your shoulders when you have people to depend on and listen. I’ve always been the one people go to for advice or if they need someone to talk to. So I always felt that expressing the same, not that it wasn’t allowed, but rather I felt like it burden the person I shared it with. It was silly. There were many things that this trip taught me and if anything I think communication and self-reflection of definitely a part of that. I discovered a lot of things about myself that I can’t even begin to explain or describe. I used a picture of a girl looking off into the distance from a cliff edge with a determined stance, almost as if saying she will accomplish all in her way, not even mountains could stand in her way. Here it is:Woman a cliff's edge FA15

I hoped with this picture to show that I have come home even stronger than when I left. That I will not give up on the things I take up and I will strive anywhere I am. To I hoped to represent that I would move forward and not dwell on the past, but not forget the lessons I learned from my past experiences. That I would learn and incorporate the things I learned in all that I do in the future.

In this past week I’ve met up with some friends and I’ve come to realize that not all of them should be in my life. Not to say that their horrible people, but rather it seems that we no longer share the same interests and are all going to different directions with our lives. That’s not a bad thing at all people change and sometimes you can’t change with them. I think since getting back I recognized the people who will be friends for life and those that will meet and go your separate way. It’s a sign of growth and step towards the future. They all ask the same question, “How was it?” and I mean for some of them they are genuine and want to know, while others just say it out of courtesy. That’s just the way it goes, I expected it so I’m not too bothered. I do however feel like I’ve matured over my time abroad and some of my friends have said the same thing, that I’m even more level headed as I was before. It’s a bad thing, I learned a lot so I think that’s a given. I think what it is, it that my view and outlook on things have changed.

Slimbach mentions “precious gems” to describe the riches gained during your abroad journey. More specifically the metaphorically riches, things that you took from your experience and he does this by breaking these experiences into 8 different types. The two that I think I can incorporate into my life now so as not to lose what I have gained are to cultivate primal joys and discern vocation. While abroad I was able to meet so many wonderful people some of which are really close to my heart. I made a promise with them and myself to keep in touch, but even beyond that hold fast to the things I learned from them. For instance I adopted the habit of one of flat mates, which was her and her family while cooking dinner would have this book of quizzes on various topics. The entire family would join in and the interaction was really welcoming. No electronics just enjoying each other’s company and coming together as a family. I really enjoyed and want to start that type of tradition with my own family. Another one of my friends from abroad had this habit of singing at random times throughout the day and once we asked why he did that and he told us it was because he was happy. I learned from him that anytime is a good time to express yourself and do what makes you happy. I’m going to try and incorporate this way of thinking to my everyday life, taking at least 30 minutes a day to just lay back and do something that I enjoy. Also, now anytime I sing I automatically think of the flat mate. With discerning vocation Slimbach talks about finding yourself and what makes you happy in life. When I was abroad I developed this habit of whenever I needed to think over things or wanted to sort through my thoughts I went for long relaxing and peaceful walks. By the time I arrived back from where I started I resolved whatever had been bothering and was able to approach the problem or situation more efficiently. Not to mention that by the time I came back from my walk I was 10x times happier and relaxed. I found a way to sort through my life when I recognize that there is a need to. In addition by traveling abroad I was able to find things that I really enjoyed that I had never given any thought to. I will continue to try and accomplish the same things as I did while abroad. It was a truly life changing experience and I won’t lose what I gained from it.

Now that I think about my old habits there are some that have definitely changed since I left home and have returned. This is mostly because I’m not the same person I was when I left and those habits don’t hold any real need to continue now. For instance my habit of keeping or having too many things; after living abroad with the bare minimum I honestly don’t need or want much. I’m getting rid of a lot of things during spring-cleaning. It was a habit my mother tried to break for a long time, but it just happened naturally as a result of studying abroad. I don’t maybe because now I’m interested in travel and it’s easier to travel light? I ate a lot healthier and tried lots of things while aboard that I would never dare to try or look at because I was super picky. I really hope I can continue that momentum and not fall back into the slump of things now that I’m home. Although I taste in sweet things is even less than what it already was to begin with, but still, I hope I will be able to maintain.

“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must no stay there, you must go beyond them.”

~ Bruce Lee

I chose this quote because right now as I think back to who I was and the way I thought about things, I was held back by the limitations I put to myself. If I had never reached past my expectations I would never have gotten to go abroad. I have goals and dreams that I would say are definitely hard to accomplish and reach, but they are possible. I feel by studying abroad I have created an open door for all possible opportunities and I will no longer limit myself. I will strive past my expectations and accomplish my goals. If there are no limits, then there are no impossibilities, if there are no impossibilities then there can only be opportunities.




Travel Log 15: There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation, Madeline Eldredge, Harwich MA

Saying our final departure good-byes to our host-supervisor, Mary, was probably the hardest part about leaving, but boarding the bus that took us to the airport was an extremely bittersweet feeling. I was sad to be leaving an amazing place that had once been so unknown and foreign but now could not feel more like home. It felt like we all had just became familiar with our daily routines, tasks and surroundings (reincorporation phase) and now we are being taken back to the liminal phase.

When the plane departed from Shannon Airport and I saw my last glimpses of the green, rock-wall lined fields, I felt excited and anxious instead of emotional and upset. Reminiscing, I was proud of myself for everything that I had accomplished in the four months I had spent in Ireland and was overwhelmed with new ideas and everything that I learned about myself and those around me. We all grew and changed in our own ways. We have grown to become better people and integrated ourselves in the global community as responsible citizens.

Arriving in America was just as bittersweet as leaving our apartment complex. On one hand, I was excited to see my family, friends, and dog but, on the other hand, I was nervous as to how I was going to interact and react to a place that I have not been in four months. America and the people around me felt foreign to me even though I had lived there for my entire life. I was scared, disoriented and immediately taken back to the liminal phase. As Slimbach states on page 205, nothing will be familiar for awhile. “…you’re probably a different person than when you left. Having struggled to overcome so many ‘dragons,’ both within and without, you now look at yourself and your natal culture differently. Your hometown hasn’t moved, and your network of family and friends is still intact-but both feel different, almost like a foreign land” (205).

It will take some getting used to the faster-paced lifestyle, which is completely the opposite of what Ireland was like. The lack of patience in those around me is frustrating and it seems like everyone is in a rush to get nowhere. Paying for items at stores has proven to be a challenge in itself, also. I had become so used to the Euro currency and having no sales tax that it took me a little longer than usual to buy something as simple as a coffee.

Sharing my letter with my closest friend was actually a fun experience. She was excited for me to be home but was also excited at how much I had learned and overcome throughout my study abroad experience. She was also excited to be considered a part of my overall experience and wanted to facilitate my reincorporation to make it as easy and simple as possible. Slimbach states on page 209 that some relationships that may have been strong before I left are now weak and non-existent. He also states home as a place that does not exist because it is wherever we, individually, create it. Fortunately, a few close relationships from my natal culture in America have strengthened but some have vanished. The quote I relate to is “Just as we had to construct a home in our host culture, we must now learn to reconstruct a new home in our home culture” (208).

I have gained a better understanding for the world and the cultures that inhabit it; I am more open-minded and open to try new things. Instead of completely shutting down an opportunity in a future job or in my community because it’s not something I would normally do, I will take more time to consider it, because why not? I have learned that change is a good thing. A habit I will change is being more open and accepting of people and things before coming to quick conclusions.

Travel Log 15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Jenna Paul. Los Angeles, Ca.

Who would have thought that returning to what I always thought was my favorite place in the world, home, would be so difficult. Leaving Ireland behind and returning to America wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. You get into such a routine living in Europe and now it is all changed again. You make lifetime friends and then just have to say goodbye for who knows how long. Some of the challenges I have faced in this reincorporation phase include driving on the right side of the road again, having tax not included in the price, and coming back to violence and anger. In Los Angeles, there is a huge movement going on called “Black Lives Matter”. The most violence that a person deals with in Ireland is probably a drunk guy on the street. Here in America that is a completely different story, unfortunately. These are just a few of the things that I have had to readjust to by coming back home. Slimbach comments on some of these when he states, “To the extent that certain basic assumptions about the world have been challenged through our cross-cultural environment, we may find ourselves painfully out of joint with life back home” (205). I agree that life is just different at home, but eventually it will all seem “normal” again.

When sharing my Reincorporation Letter with my parents, I had many emotions going through my head. Of course I am happy to be home, where I get to see my family, friends and of course my puppy. The quote I chose to share with my parents was “Home is where the heart is”. Ireland will always have a special place in my heart and I will always want to be back there. But, I have to realize that America is my home and life can be just as great here as it was there. I explained to them how I learned a lot while being abroad and have come back with a different outlook on life for the better. They were of course so happy to hear all of this and thrilled my experience was so great.

I learned so many great things while being abroad. I hope that I can carry these “gems” into my life here in America as well. One example is how healthy I was while being abroad. For instance, I walked everywhere. Some days I was walking around 12 miles and I hope to continue to walk and see the world even hear in my home town. Of course it will be different. Maybe I will choose to walk to the store rather than drive like I normally would. Also, the food was so fresh and healthy in Europe. I plan to eat healthy as much as possible here in America as well by going organic. I feel healthier and I want to stay that way.IMG_0041

The quote that I have chosen to represent how I am feeling is, “Don’t be afraid of change. You might lose something good, but you’ll gain something better” –unknown. Of course it is difficult to leave such an amazing place, but that doesn’t mean home isn’t just as great. They are very different places and have different positives and negatives to them. It is important for me to use those positives to my advantage and live life to the fullest no matter where I am in the world. I might have left my amazing friends back in Ireland, but I also came home to amazing family and other friends. I have to appreciate what I have in life and be thankful for it all.

Travel Log 15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation,” by Stephanie Schmitt. Stony Brook, NY.

I have now been home for about five days, and it has definitely been a strange five days. One of the most shocking things that I found when I first got home was how completely exhausted I was. I knew that jetlag would hit, but for some reason I did not realize it would be this bad. I found myself falling asleep on the couch at 8:00 pm! I think that besides the jet-lag, this was from a semester of constantly being on the go and doing so many things. Looking back on my experience, there was not much time for rest. Slimbach discusses how to deal with this in his last chapter, in the section titled, “I Didn’t Expect That.” He says to try not to create a hectic schedule and to also recognize the importance for alone time and reflection (212). I like that Slimbach makes a point of personal reflection during this time, as it is important to continue to reflect on our feelings as we reincorporate into our home cultures. Another thing that has been difficult is trying to find the balance between the bitter and the sweet. Part of me is overjoyed to be back here with family and friends, but the other part would hop on a plane back to Firenze tomorrow. This is the struggle of the post-sojourn. It is a state of limbo, a position of trying to decide which culture to identify with and how to incorporate new ideas and lessons into everyday life. However, after reading Slimbach’s last chapter, I realized that this is the beauty of my situation. He says, “Our challenge, as integrative returnees, is to think and act in ways that enrich and enlighten both others and ourselves. Not only must we be able to alternate between cultural frames of reference; we must also learn to appropriately apply new values to novel situations” (220). It is important that I do not bottle up all that I have come to learn, but that I find a way to integrate my global community identity with my local community identity. The journey did not end when I got back here on Saturday, but now I am on a never-ending journey of life-long learning and discovery.

When I shared my reincorporation letter, I did it with my family at dinner. The quote that I chose to share with them was, “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land” (G.K. Chesterson). I shared this with them to explain that coming back to America will be strange for me, and that it will be a reverse culture shock. I wanted them to understand that I will view my home country and community through a new lens. My family and my friends have both been very supportive of my experience.  My parents especially have recognized how I have changed and blossomed during my four months away. They have listened to my stories and have tried to understand my new views. Their validation has definitely helped make the transition easier. It helps to have people who want to hear about my experience and who affirm the changes that have occurred.

Slimbach offered multiple ways to carry on the gems that we found while studying abroad. One way that I definitely plan on carrying these gems forward is by getting more involved back at Quinnipiac. I hope to be able to talk to students who are considering studying abroad and share my experience with them to help them understand why it is so important. Also, I plan on living more sustainably. After living in Italy, I realized how little other people waste, especially in terms of foodand electricity. They do not use cars as much, they shop from local markets only when they need food and they don’t use dryers, or air conditioning at certain times of the year. I hope to be able to incorporate some of these things into my life here so that I can do my part to make this Earth viable for years to come.

One habit that I will have to get rid of at this time is the act of simply going along with things. I think that before studying abroad, I forgot to ask questions and to ask “Why?” Instead, I simply accepted things for how they were. I know that now I will begin to question whether things are fair, good for everyone, and how they can be done better.

A quote that represents my feelings right now is, “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living” –Miriam Beard. After living abroad for four months, I have realized that travel for education goes beyond just seeing cool things and having fun. It is about becoming a well-rounded citizen of the world. It is about learning to make your own decisions, and discovering new ways of thinking. Travel for education is about change.


Travel Log 15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” By Marc Capparelli. Eastchester, New York

It’s strange for me to be home. While I knew this day would eventually come, it is hard for me to believe that it’s actually here. And although I’ve been home for less than a week now, I feel as if I have been here longer than the length of time I had studied abroad. Reincorporating back into my home community is both easy and difficult. It is easy because everything is the same and familiar to me. Yet, this is not really a positive thing. Since everything is the same, I’ve found that the only thing that has really changed is myself. Everything is boring here and everything is the same and everything is in excess. When walking into my room again for the first time in three months, I remember thinking, “what do I need all this stuff for?” Because of this difficulty in reincorporating myself, I feel I could be considered as being in another liminal phase where I am ‘betwixt and between’ my old and new self.

After reading Slimbach’s text for this week, I was so surprised at how well his descriptions fit some of the ways I have been feeling that I kept saying in my head, “that’s me!” One thing that really resonated with me from the reading was how little interest people have when it comes to listening to your experiences. In his text Slimbach writes, “Once they’ve heard the highlights, most are ready for you to be your “old self” again” (213). Just as he described, I’ve found that people expect you to be exactly how you were before you left. Additionally, out of “politeness” people will ask you about your trip, looking for that single phrase answer along the lines of, “It was great!” But you can’t collate everything that happened into one phrase nor would you have the time to ramble on about all the foods you’ve had, all the beautiful places and landscapes you viewed, every person you met who inspired you, every laugh you had that made you lose your breath, or even every cry that made tears fall to the floor. Just like Slimbach describes, sometimes people don’t even know what to ask simply because they just cannot relate. People have their own lives here. All they may want is a quick summary of your experience.

When I was away, I was free to adventure in any way I pleased. Since that is over now, I am bored in my home community. Slimbach writes, “Why is travel so exciting? Partly because it triggers the thrill of escape, from the conscription of the daily, the job, the boss, the parents” (208). This “thrill of escape” is what I took the most pleasure in. I was always on the run going place to place. Now I am stuck home in the same place remembering to say “bye” instead of “ciao.” This is makes travel so spectacular. When you travel you break away from the norm and find a new self. More specifically, you create a new self. That is why it is so important to use what you have learned as you go forward in life. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “What lies ahead of you and what lies behind you is nothing compared to what lies within you.” This is the quotation I chose to share with my letter of reincorporation. It speaks to me because it describes how what you have inside is everything you need. While the study abroad experience is over and I am completely unsure of what lies ahead of me for my future, I know that everything that has happened to me up until today lies within me and it has made me a stronger and smarter person. What lies within is what is most important.

In order to carry my experience forward even more, I am going to live a more sustainable lifestyle as well as one where I simply have less. Italians live a much more sustainable lifestyle. They never waste food or water and basically throw a fit if the lights are left on and no one is using them. This all makes sense to me and I’m not sure why I lived any other way before. I also don’t know why I ever had so many clothes. I basically wore the same pair of jeans for two months in Italy (with a wash here and then). Any time I traveled, I’d bring one or two shirts, a toothbrush, and deodorant. Living a minimalist lifestyle is so much fun. I also grew accustomed to not having internet connection everywhere I went and feel much less inclined to use it now. I don’t even want to watch TV. However, I do love playing video games so I don’t think that will stop. But besides that, I also don’t know why I never just drank from the tap. I’m never using bottles again, it’s such a waste! While these are just a few of the gems I’ve taken back with me, I know that there are many other habits that I will do differently back home.

A quotation that resonates with me right now is “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” This similarly describes what Slimbach described earlier about the thrill of escape but with a certain twist. Life can becoming boring and dull when you do the same routine over and over again. Yet when you travel, life comes right back into you and awakens what’s within you. I can’t wait to do it again someday.

Travel Log 15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” By Ben Raymond. Derry, New Hampshire.

Upon returning to the United States, I came to realize that the host culture which I left had become the societal norm to me. Before leaving, I was told that returning to one’s home country is more of a culture shock than arriving at a foreign country. I was mindful of this remark as I made my voyage back to the United States. Initially, I was a skeptic – how could my home country feel foreign to me? This is where I have spent all of my life, what could possibly be different?

I was correct in a sense; the country I came back to had not changed at all. The people were the same, as well as the social interactions. On the other hand, the perceptions of my country have changed tremendously. This was my culture shock. I had become so used to Australian culture that things that once seemed normal to me couldn’t feel more foreign during this time of reincorporation. I have found myself back in a state of liminality, as I attempt to re-understand my own culture as an outsider looking in.

An example of this is when I visited my friends back at Quinnipiac during the first week of my return. Everyone was so excited to see me and so eager to hear all about my adventures abroad. All seemed normal and great until we decided to go out on a Friday night to Toads. This is the first time my feeling of “culture shock” had kicked in. On the shuttle to Toads, I really began to notice the differences between Americans and Australians. The bus ride was loud and obnoxious – something that I was completely desensitized to prior to my abroad experience. I never realized how heavily abused alcohol was in the states. Also, I never noticed how much Americans rely on social media such as Snapchat in order to “have a good time.” Very few people in Australia use Snapchat simply because they don’t have a need for it. They understand that the time they spend with people face to face is far more important than living through ones phone – always seeking validation from people who couldn’t care less about their life. It wasn’t until now that I noticed how bad the American addiction is with seeking validation.

Returning home. I had the opportunity to share my reincorporation letter with my family. The quote I chose to describe my experience was, “the farther I travel, the closer I am to myself.” In other words, I explained how I found myself while traveling abroad, and how the experience has put me through my own rite of passage. By telling my family this, I was able to spread awareness in order for the outside world to acknowledge my personal transition into adulthood.

Since returning home from studying abroad, my old habits have already changed. I no longer feel the need to check my phone every twenty minutes, nor do I ever use it if at meals with friends and family. Instead I enjoy the time being in their company. I will need to be mindful of my phone use in order to stay away from these old habits. Living abroad has significantly developed by independence skills – I hope I am able to continue this independency while back at home this summer and then when at school.

A quote by Ibn Battuta perfectly describes my experience: “traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” I feel that after this speechless experience, I am able to look back as a storyteller, putting it all into words. This class has given me the opportunity to become a storyteller, sharing my gained knowledge and wisdom with others.

Travelogue 15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation.” Brian Costello. Cold Spring, NY

Coming back to the United States was a big shock for me. The second I landed in Los Angeles I knew that I was no longer immersed in the New Zealand culture I became so used to. Everyone was in a hurry, everything was automated making everything seem impersonal, everyone in my program went their own separate ways with no goodbye, the LAX employees didn’t know what they were doing, and TSA was slow as usual. I can’t say that I necessarily missed this aspect of the States but I was quickly reminded what it was like. However, that was just my experience in the LAX airport, which is a terrible airport by the way. Once I landed in New York after all of my layovers and long flights I was so relieved to be home again. Driving back from JFK at night when no one was on the road was refreshing and exciting. I had a liminal stage for a few days, as well as jet lag, but it was extremely easy adjusting back to my home culture.

My parents were happy to receive my reincorporation letter mostly because they got me with it. They were touched by what I wrote and promised to help me in my reincorporation process by just treating me as the normally would. The quote I used in my reincorporation letter was by Jane Addams which reads “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” I chose this quote because I felt it really captured what I wanted in my reincorporation process. I wanted to bring something new that I learned in my host culture and bring it into my home culture and other people’s lives. By sharing my stories and journeys with people from my home country I am being a responsible citizen as well as helping my reincorporation process. I feel that my community helped and supported me throughout my entire time abroad. They kept me in touch with my goals and who I truly am, which in turn helped me make the most out of my study abroad experience.

Some “gems” I plan on bringing along with me are to disclose to people that there are certain ways to live your life and to take chances. My first gem is an important one because a lot of people believe that there is only one path for them in their life and that is certainly not the case. We are taught our entire life that we have to pick and choose a certain way we want to live and that through hard work and dedication you can achieve these goals, which is true, but what they fail to tell you is that the time you spent achieving your goals was a major portion of your life. Now it is up to that individual at that certain moment to look back and reflect on whether the ends justified the means. If it does then great, but if it doesn’t what now. I just want to make people aware of this reality because it does happen and being aboard has made me realize that there may be a lot more fields or areas I am not familiar in but may love doing. Experimenting and reflecting is a key part in finding what you love, which ties into my next “gem” of taking chances. Everyone has to take chances. They make you a stronger and more aware person when take them. They may not turn out the way you expect, but either way you learned something new.

One major stream that I will have to divert is the one of laziness. During the summer if I am not working I become extremely lazy and do not want to do activities that I would normally enjoy doing. These would include hiking, biking, exercising, and socializing with friends. I know that if I do not make the effort here I will fall back into my old habit of being lazy which was non-existent in New Zealand.

The quote I chose to end my final travelogue and to express how I feel about being home is from Mother Teresa “Love beings at home, and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put into that action.” I feel that this is a perfect quote to sum up how I am feeling because I do feel loved back at home and by bringing this love to other places and sharing it with other people I make another home. A home where hopefully one day I can go back to where the suns rises over the rolling hills with healthy green grass, sets over the calm ocean, and where the people are friendly and use cool sayings such as “Sweet as.” I will miss New Zealand, but my real home is right here in little village of Cold Spring, New York.

Travel Log 15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” By Matthew Mattson. Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Reincorporation into my original place at home is not as easy as I thought it would be.  After the first couple days, I found myself getting bored quickly and started to feel isolated.  It is like I am on an island and everyone can visit, but no one can truly stay.  I do feel like I am in a separate place from other people around me that have not seen more than one perspective.  This feeling of loneliness seemed like a gap that couldn’t be filled, but the reincorporation letter definitely helped.  My letter was trying to show how my thought process has been widened and my perspective is changed.  My letter included a lot about this change I have had and how has been pretty hard to articulate how I feel about my experiences and now defining what my future goals will be.  I chose an illustration of a singular tree in a field.  It symbolized to me the sense of isolation I have been feeling and how it would take time for me to re adjust to being home.  The quote I chose was one that showed how important coming home still was to me, because the sense of isolation in the beginning of the letter almost made it seem like I didn’t want to come home.  “I am travelling half the year around the world, every year, so coming home is one of the most beautiful things,”- Andre Reiu.  Coming home to me is a beautiful thing.  The sense of continuity with the town I grew up in is boring, but refreshing.  My parents reacted to this letter in a very understanding way.  They understood how difficult it was to come home with a different mindset when everyone else remained mostly the same.  I think my growth will be easier to apply with college friends, because we were all together when we had to make the change to being in university without our family, so I think they are used to understanding change in individuals.  I think their reaction was exactly what I expected so nothing really changed for me, but I feel that I need more time to bridge the gap to feel more connected to family and friends.

The chapter in Slimbach’s book did help to understand my own feelings and how I can try to adapt to coming home.  “This phase of blissful indulgence tends to last about a week, if that long,” (Slimbach, 207).  The paragraph further talks about how being home is boring and I completely agree.  I feel like all the energy has been sucked out of me because there is so little to do.  The only thing that keeps me going is my desire to apply what I have learned abroad to my home community.  One of the most important lessons I learned was to listen to every story and I have been staying true to this.  I think I listen more than I ever have before which is a good improvement.  I believe that with help friends and family my adjustment won’t be as difficult as I may think.  I feel that I will also have a more open mind to ideas and critically think more about issues on a communal, national and global scale.  I believe that I may fall into a slump of laziness while home since there will be nothing to do, but I will be able to overcome this by trying to get out, do activities, get a job and hand out with friends.

Travel Log 15 “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Incorporation” by Colin Burke. Brookfield, CT

I would say the biggest challenge during reintegration has been the pace of life. This has been furthered by the fact that my internship started three days after returning home, which I will go into further detail later. Slimbach’s quote puts it perfectly, “Compared to life abroad, the pace can seem oppressive, the people wasteful, the food tasteless, the culture colorless. (Slimbach 205) I was able to escape from the norm for over five months, the society that I spent the entirety of my life. I constantly opened all my senses for five months in an effort to learn and build understanding of the unique culture of Barcelona. There were five different types of garbage/recycling on every block, delicious food everywhere, and passionate individuals, especially regarding football.

Another challenge has been trying to share my experience with others. In chapter 8, Slimbach notes this can be quite the challenge for a variety of reasons. I would love to take over the discussion and drone on about cultural differences and everything I have learned abroad, yet I have not done so except for with well-traveled individuals. In a group setting I tend just to share a few “cool” highlights from my trip like eating Kangaroo (the best meat I have ever had) or snowboarding in the Pyrenees. I hope to have more meaningful conversations in the future, and I would love to speak with potential study abroad students.

I shared my letter with my mom before leaving for Barcelona, and shared the Reincorporation letter I wrote on the plane home with my mom upon return. The quote I chose was, “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries” by Aldous Huxley. I shared this quote because it relates to stereotyping, something people, including members of my family, do far too often. The theory of stereotyping always mind boggled me. Yet, I learned while studying abroad that it is childish to attempt to put labels on an entire country, however certain characteristics can be shared by the majority of a country or region. Love for football being a very blatant characteristic of almost every country in Europe. My mom was not expecting another letter, but promised that we would talk deeper about my experience, particularly with members of my well-traveled extended family.

One aspect of Spanish culture, and virtually everywhere I traveled, is the emphasis and time spent eating. I used to judge waiting service almost solely based on speed, but now being back in the US, this is no longer a factor when deciding how much to tip a waiter. Spending between one and two hours eating can allow individuals to discuss personal problems, recent successes, the world at large, or any number of meaningful topics. In the US, everyone has their phone on the table and is waiting for food while talking. Conversely, from my abroad experience, everyone is talking while waiting for their food. Everyone is seemingly “too busy”, some by working 9-7 jobs or others by needing to watch Keeping up with the Kardashians.

Quote that describes my current feelings:


Three days after returning home, I started my summer internship with the Hartford Insurance Group in Hartford, CT. I was grateful to have a three day orientation before actually beginning assignments. I had a long drive the first day when nerves built and a bit of a 21 year old mid-life crisis occurred. I started an internship in corporate America, fulfilling the only stereotype that foreigners collectively share about Americans: We live to work, rather than work to live. I never saw myself working a 9-5 growing up as both parents often resented their professions. After studying abroad and seeing how slow, and enjoyable, life can be, I was a bit rattled when starting my job. I try to be as honest as I can with everyone around me, so in the middle of my second week when discussing goals, I voiced how I want to create a meaningful and fulfilling career.  I am lucky to say I am graced with an assignment manager that has talked me through this conflict at great length already. She said, “Colin, I never want you to stop saying what do I want to be when I grow up.” I really appreciated this and upon reflection, I think it would be enormously beneficial to follow my manager’s words. I will never settle into a job unless it is something I am enjoying that is meaningful for me and others.

Travel Log 15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” Connor LaChapelle. Boston, MA.

There is a psychology concept widely accepted by social scientists called ‘linear thinking.’ The idea is that humans naturally think in a linear manner, meaning that if we take ten steps, we are only going to be tens paces away from where we started. This is also how the average person thinks, and it represents one of the greatest barriers to our transcendence as intellectual beings. Studying abroad has taught me how to think ‘exponentially,’ that is how to be global in how I interpret the world around me. Although this undoubtedly gives me an advantage as I prepare to begin the next chapter of my life, it also has created friction with many of the people who I have known or continue to meet. I feel this most intensely when I meet people here in the States who show no interest in traveling outside of America because they believe there is nothing else worth seeing, or its simply not worth the energy. Another example is depicted by the lack of emphasis in our youth language learning programs. The general census essentially infers: why learn another language when we already know the ‘best’ one? There is no greater detriment to any society than ethnocentric behavior. It is this arrogance that has posed the greatest challenge to my reincorporation.

Sharing my reincorporation letter with my family gave me the best opportunity that I’ve had to summarize my time abroad and, more importantly, what I’ve learned. I believe the greatest advantage this letter has given me was discussing how my family could help me by working to understand that I am not the same person I was when I left. My principles are the same, but I am now less convicted to them because the context in which I now know exists has forced me to question and revise them. With this being said, I told them one specific way they can assist my reincorporation is by asking me questions about. I feel as though this will catalyze me to introspect and will therefore help me find a better fit into society.  I further pointed out that maybe even asking simple question like ‘what was it like taking a train everywhere?’ or ‘what was it like not understanding anyone?’ may be beneficial in my long-term incorporation. Who knows, maybe it will change the way they think as well. I believe the key to becoming ‘world wise’ lies, not necessarily in the travels, but rather practicing how to be sentient like a traveler. With great effort, I believe one can think globally depending on how well they listen.

Slimbach wrote, “to change a deep-rooted habit, you must take steps to divert the stream—that is, to consciously form a new habit. By making a conscious change in behavior, you begin to dig a new channel in your psyche.” (Slimbach, 226) Habits are powerful indicators of our character, and I believe that way other’s perceive us relies heavily on our habits. I think the effects of studying abroad are going to reveal themselves in the new habits I have accrued. As I have listened to my peer through the years, I had come recognize that I live in a deeper state of introspection than most. Some call it maturity, other label it self-consciousness, and to be honest I have no idea. What I do know is that it will now work in my favor because I will be that much more aware of when I begin to fall back into my routine of old. I am going to carry forward my experiences by journaling about my memories and the gridlock between my old, current, and future identities. Nikki Giovanni once said: “A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.” The quote reflects I am today, because it is just now that I realize my world changes every day. Studying abroad also taught that I am agile to keep up with.