I’m finally back home from my semester abroad and have had some time to reflect upon the memories I made in Europe. Honestly, coming home felt a lot like coming out of a dream, going back to the familiar spaces in my hometown from a place where it seemed as though every time I stepped out of my apartment there was something new in front of my eyes, I think to myself, “did all of that really happen?” Spending a semester in Prague was a total blast and I feel so fortunate that I got the opportunity to do so, spending a semester abroad was on my bucket list of things to do while I was in college and it well definitely be one of the most memorable parts of my 4 at UA. Spending 4 months in Europe gave the chance to see places and experience the culture of countries that I had only dreamed about visiting just a few years prior, and I was able to make some friends that I hope to keep in touch with the rest of my college years and beyond.
All of that being said, although I wouldn’t exactly say that I was “excited” to come home, there was a part of me that definitely felt ready to be back in the States. There were plenty of things that I missed about home that I took for granted before leaving the country for an extended period of time, one of these things being American appliances. The appliances, like the washing machine, fridge, and dishwasher were much smaller than what I was used to back home and they were much more inefficient. The washing machine that was in me and my roommate’s apartment had a weird control panel that took some getting used to and a horizontal bin that was sort of a pain to load, didn’t hold much laundry, and sounded like a jet engine when it was running. We also had to deal with the fact that our washing machine was broken when we arrived and had to wait for a new one to be installed, which was pretty inconvenient. It’s also nice to be back home and have a dryer to throw my clothes in once they’re done washing instead of hanging everything up on a drying rack. The toaster oven is another appliance that I missed while I was away, and having a big freezer to put a bunch of frozen food. Eating really fresh produce from the grocery stores in Europe is nice and definitely healthier but I enjoy the convenience of being able to pop some snacks in the toaster oven. My dishwasher at home was also something I missed because it felt like even after putting the dishes in our dishwasher, sometimes for two cycles, we would have to hand-wash everything because there would still be bits of food stuck to the dishes. I loved the roommates I got paired with and it was really fun to live with them for four months but having 6 guys in a small apartment can get a little chaotic and cramped at times so it’s nice to be back in a home with a little more space. The food in Prague and the other cities that I visited over the course of the semester was incredible and it felt great to be able to try different dishes from countries around Europe, trying new food is one of my favorite things about traveling. That being said, there was plenty of food that I missed from America as well, like good Mexican food, good pizza, fried chicken, Italian beef sandwiches, and plenty of fast food restaurants that weren’t over in Europe, so I am eager to chow down on the things that I haven’t been able to eat in a while. Watching American sports is also something that I was happy to come back to, the time difference and the fact that we didn’t have a TV in our apartment made catching games pretty difficult. It’s great to be able to turn on the TV and have plenty of sports talk shows and games on. Lastly, I missed the experience of taking classes back in the States a lot and I miss the University of Alabama. I really did not like taking classes at the university I went to in Europe, 2 and a half hour class sections were not fun, even if I only had to go to one each day I still felt really burnt out by the time I was done. I also wasn’t a huge fan of being in lectures with just 10-20 people, it made me feel like I was back in grade school, a part of me likes being in larger classes for lectures and then breaking down into smaller classes for doing actual practical work. I also felt like a lot of the instructions that I received for assignments were somewhat vague, especially when it came to the formatting of the assignments, back at UA all of that just came natural to me and the requirements for the content that was expected in the assignment were communicated much more directly. By the last two weeks of class during my semester abroad I just felt completely out of it and had to desire to get any work done at all, which I experience at home at times too but nowhere near to the degree I felt then. The energy and sense of community that I feel when I’m on campus back in the US was also something that I missed greatly and can’t wait to get back, there’s an energy that’s there, especially during football season, that I am excited to experience again. I loved my time in Prague, but now that I’m back home I can’t wait to be back at UA in the fall.