I’m not ashamed to admit that I teared up a little bit in the Birmingham airport when I heard the familiar sounds of sweet, southern accents – in English! I loved my time abroad, and the way Spanish sounds coming out of the mouth of a true Spaniard, but I did miss home. In either country, there’s something to miss. Toward the end of my study abroad trip, I was really missing my friends and family (and especially my dogs). But now that I’ve been back for a few days, I’m already missing the relationships I built abroad, my daily routine, and the life I had come to love in Spain.
Luckily, I got all of my new friends’ phone numbers, snapchats, and instagrams so those connections can be maintained. In fact, my roommate from abroad and I are already planning a spring break reunion! Truly, there’s something about experiencing an entirely new way of life together that really bonds people like nothing else can.
My advice to future students:
- Build those new relationships with both Americans in your program and people from your host country. But then don’t let those relationships die; keep up the connections.
- Really think about who you are and how long you can handle being away from home. For me, and most of the other students in my program, two months was the perfect amount of time. We fully experienced our host country and were able to live like locals, but our homesickness set in about a week before we were set to head home.
- Leave enough room in your suitcase for souvenirs and any other things you might bring back. Seriously!!
- Make a real effort to learn the language and culture of your host country. You may never get an opportunity like this again!