As I walk around campus this semester going from class to class, it almost feels as if I was never gone for eight months. Instead, it feels as if my study abroad experience was simply a long, vivid dream that allowed me to fast forward in time bringing me back to campus just in time to start a new semester.
Everyone always tells you about going abroad, but no one tells you about the part when you have to return to campus almost half a year later and act like you never left. The return to campus after studying abroad is weird and can sometimes take time to get used to again. Luckily, I had all summer to adapt back into an American lifestyle which made the transfer a lot easier. After only being back for a week now as a full time student, living on campus, these are the few discoveries and realities I have faced.
It has been awhile since being surrounded by so many familiar faces.
The return to campus though is the weirdest part because it finally hits you how long it has been since you’ve seen some of these people. I mean, they look the same and act the same for the most part, yet it is different. The difference is that you feel like a different person, a changed person because of your experience. You want people to recognize your absence, but only can respond “It was great.” when asked how studying abroad was. The feeling of being back, surrounded by so many people who speak the same language and are around the same age is weird, but for me it’s the good kind of weird.
The fomo was and still is real.
I knew that when I decided to study abroad my fomo would be real while I was away, but I did not realize that it would continue when I returned to campus. It is not until my friends recollect on certain memories that I realize that time did in fact continue back at school and even though I was off making my own memories, they were still here making theirs. I find myself constantly being reminded of this separation between study abroad life and college life as we share our own moments from the past semesters.
Adapting back to an American college lifestyle can be difficult.
The hardest part about returning to campus after spending a semester abroad is definitely adapting back to college life. For me this meant, living in a dorm again, taking all five classes at the same time again, not speaking Spanish for the majority of my conversations, and exploring DC on the weekends as opposed to the beaches of Costa Rica. It has only been a week and I’d say the getting back into college swing is going pretty well. I am realizing that I have not “colleged” in what seems like a long time, but it is kind of like riding a bicycle, you never really lose your skill.
All in all, returning to campus after studying abroad is a mixture of strange and difficult. It could take a week to get used to again, or it could take a month. Eventually, the reality of college sets back in and the experiences you had while abroad continue to feel like a beautiful vivid dream. Although weird at first, it feels great to be back, living the college life again.