My semester abroad came to an end on December 16th. During the last weeks of my program I spent my time revisiting some favorite local sites, studying for and taking final exams, and watching four plays and visiting Shakespeare’s house in Stratford-on-Avon. It was a nice way to wrap up my study abroad experience as, like the entirety of my time abroad, it revolved around academics and experiencing the history and culture of England.
Before embarking on study abroad, I imagined it would be a whirl-wind of fast-paced excitement and travel. In some ways it was that, but it involved more inter-personal connections and self-discovery than I though it would. I know that I mentioned in the last blog post how much I had learned about myself during study abroad, so I will not spend time on it here. As for relationships with other people, I made several important connections (both academically and personally) with locals in Bath and Oxford. Looking back, these connections are one of the most crucial and enlightening elements of study abroad, and I can confidently say that my experience would have been lacking had I not been fortunate enough to make them.
I was excited to return “home,” yet when I arrived I quickly realized that I already missed parts of my study abroad home. I had been homesick for nearly half of my time abroad, and (in a ironic twist) was now feeling some return culture shock. As my parents drove me home from the airport, I stared out the window at things and places that were familiar to me, but also seemed strange and off. For three days I essentially felt as if I was in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Those odd days have passed, and I have become comfortable with my home environment again. Although I am excited to return to the Hilltop in a few weeks for the start of the semester, I cannot help but to wonder if I will have a readjustment time there as well. Only time will tell, but I look forward to annoying my friends and roommates with the iconic “this one time, in England…”