You come home and everyone is happy to see you and exclaim how much they loved seeing your pictures. They ask a few questions, which will seem like strange questions to you since you’ve found so much more than stereotypes on the other side of the world. So you start telling them about the little things that warmed your heart, be it the street musicians or that shop owner you passed everyday on your way to class. Their attention will fade and you might feel a bit hurt.
I’m not telling you this to be negative. I’m just being real. However, I do have a small solution.
I’ve learned to target people specifically to tell each portion of my “abroad story”. I know that one friend would especially love Ireland and another would much rather see Barcelona. So, I tell each one the bit that interests them and eventually I’ve told my entire story and no one became irritated or bored in the process.
When you go abroad immerse yourself entirely.
Learn the language even if it is horribly difficult. The locals will appreciate it.
Don’t concern yourself with counting calories. Part of the experience is tasting the food. Don’t limit yourself.
Go out of your way to meet new people.
Be extra kind and considerate.
Learn to appreciate what you have.
Don’t do the same things as every other study abroad student.
Ryanair is a friend that teaches you that “yes, it can all fit into your backpack”.
Be in the present.
This chapter of my adventures is over, but I will always remember it fondly. I hope you find a new home, wherever you go.