Now that I am back home in America, the first thought that came to my mind was how excited I was to see my family and dogs. Other than that, I was mostly happy that, because although the program is over, the friends that I made, I will see again in Alabama at school. My first feeling when arriving back home was eagerness to see my family and to catch up with them. I do miss my host family but I was very excited to be reunited with my blood family.
The study abroad experienced has changed me for the better as my worldviews have been expanded. I feel so much smaller in this world considering how many people I share it with. Studying abroad has impacted my worldview because it allowed me to realize the greater issues our world is undergoing (i.e., poverty, inequality, racism, sexism, etc.). My family has noticed that I am less anxious about my personal issues, which I attribute to becoming more mature in a worldly sense! That change impacts my daily life because I am not as quick to get frustrated with myself over something trivial that likely won’t make a difference in a year.
Although I was culturally shocked when arriving in America, it did not last for long. For example, I quickly became adjusted to American food, culture and the ways of living. Something that still affects me is the time change as I have not adjusted to that just yet. Oddly enough, the signs in English, hustle and bustle of the city and the fast pace of life are all comforting to me.
The best piece of advice I could give to future study abroad students is to take as many pictures as possible. After all, not many of us will return to our host country and no one (rarely) regrets taking pictures! I do not wish I had known anything before I went abroad. I greatly believe that planning for a place you have never visited is foolish. I say that because plans change almost daily and the best way to learn about a foreign culture or language is to become totally emerged in it. I advise all future study abroad students to pack less than you think you will need (I bought many clothes and items while abroad that impacted my luggage weight, and thus, luggage costs).
Thank you to my dad, mom, sister and the University for allowing me this opportunity!