Studying abroad is something many students look forward to doing when they get to college. After all the pre departure anxiety and stress, getting to your study abroad destination is full of positive emotions. There is so much to do, so many things to see, and so many people to meet. Everything you experience during the time you are abroad goes by so quickly that when its over, you wonder where the time went. Here are a few stages that we all go through when our study abroad programs come to an end:
After months of making friends and growing comfortable with a new world, its finally your last day. When this day finally comes, you are shocked at how fast time has flown by, and you can't believe that you will all be parting ways and leaving your temporary home. Saying goodbye surprisingly has some pros and cons. For me, I was excited to be going home, to be seeing my friends, to be spending time with my family. But at the same time, leaving all of my new friends and the most incredible experiences behind was going to be difficult to accept.
Sitting in the Airport
After months of traveling, sitting in the airport to go home was not the same. I had thought about going home for weeks, but sitting in the airport waiting for my gate to open, it hit me. I was finally going home.
As I sat on my nine hour flight, everything I had done was flooding through my head. I thought for sure I was ready to go home, but something about actually leaving was changing my mind. I want to go home, but I never want to leave.
Finally landing back in the U.S. was one of the greatest feelings. Everything is so familiar. Everything feels safe. All I could think about was getting home.
First Day Back
The first day back is full of "Welcome Home's" and "How was your trip." You eat all of your favorite American food that you have been missing out on. You get visitors, calls and text messages from people who are happy you are back. But all you really can think about is staying in and catching up on all the Netflix you've missed out on.
End of Week One
After a week, the culture shock from returning home is starting to wear off. After days and days of jet lag you can finally start to get a good night sleep. Everyone you run into asks about your trip and all you can sum up into words is "It was amazing." The truth is, you don't really know how to describe it. As nice as it is to be back home, part of you is still reminiscing on the few months you spent abroad. You miss your friends and all of the places you have traveled, and as soon as school, work, or real life starts up, you start planning for the next opportunity you can get to go back.