Talking to recently-returned study abroad students can be fascinating, but it can also be frustrating. Friends come home bursting with stories- some talking incessantly about all the amazing things they did or bemoaning how much they miss it, or even making vague and earnest plans to return as soon as possible. Sometimes, it may seem like they have left their mind behind in their host country.
For some people, constantly hearing about a fantastic abroad experience can be a source of jealousy or annoyance. Not everyone has a chance to travel and it’s even harder to be stuck at home when you wish you were out exploring like your friends abroad. It’s always important to be respectful to your friends and family when you come home. Of course they want to hear about your adventures and share in your happiness, but don’t forget that everyone else has been living their lives since you were gone too.
Here are a few key points to remember when you come home to help create a smooth and positive transition back to your life.
Live in the present as much as possible. Your experience has given your more confidence, independence, and a sense of adventure! Don’t let this go to waste by simply reliving the memories of an amazing experience: go create a new one! Explore new territory, whether it’s finding a new hiking trail in your hometown or going to a music festival for a long weekend. You’ll keep your mind from feeling too sad or nostalgic and you’ll rediscover the joys of being back.
Remember that life went on while you were away. Your friends and family probably have stories from their daily lives that they also want to share and it’s easy to overshadow these updates with your own incredible tales. In the excitement of returning home , it’s important to respect the experiences of others with as much attention as your own stories command.
Be grateful! Living away from familiar territory is a great way to remind yourself that it’s too easy to take so much of your life for granted: old friends, your parents, your favorite coffee shop… When you come home, it’s crucial to retain this appreciation for as long as possible. Thank your parents for making you breakfast or say hi to the barista with a big smile.
While the world has much to offer, always remember that the pleasures of home should be honored with the same affection and gratitude as your experiences abroad.