Happy I don’t even know what day it is, I just had to check my calendar Wednesday.
Today I am touching on some fears of transition back to life at home in the United States and going back to my official college next year. Last week, Amara touched on going to the US for ten days (read about it here) and I’ve been starting to get anxious about leaving.
My mind has become so wrapped around taking bus 13 everyday and sitting in a 2 classroom location that we call our center. I’ve become very adjusted to being on a pre-paid phone plan and figuring out how and when to go to the store to pay for the next month. I’ve learned how to stop thinking in dollar signs and instead pay for everything in euros. But most of all, I’ve learned to be quick on my feet – when something doesn’t go my way, I try to find quick solutions for them.
To say the least, I am not being spoon-fed here at all. Sometimes I get a map and sometimes I just have to figure it out. So transitioning from this Italian-speaking paradise full of amazing cappuccinos and cheap pizza that tastes better than Papa John’s, I am beginning to worry about how my life will change when I get back.
Not trying to be overdramatic or anything but my mind and body just got so used to one lifestyle, and now I’m reverting back to one where I can drive my hooptie (as I like to call it) and go get Chipotle whenever I want. I’m not sure what to expect of my college – will my old friends still be there? Will the ones I made abroad still talk to me? What am I going to do on the weekends? Am I going to be able to get used to living on one campus that extends 3 blocks instead of a metropolitan city?
Reverse culture shock exists, friends. Basically, I am scared of the three things that embody the definition of reverse culture shock.
- Home has changed.
- You have changed.
- You have adapted to another culture and now you must readapt.
Another week has passed leaving me with FIVE weekends left in Bologna. I’m not sure where the days are going and some days I’m not sure that I will be ready to leave my beautiful apartment and my amazing host family. I guess I am apprehensive about how things will play out next year. I’ll be busy with my internships, working, reconnecting, applying for full time jobs etc. I feel almost the same exact emotions I felt before coming here, which I did not expect.
Now what do I call home?
Of course I’ll be glad to be able to have a real library again (ALL THE HEART EYES FOR THIS!!) but I’ll have to go back to my pace of things and I’m not sure if I can do it.
I recently came across my essay response for my study abroad application from over a year ago, when I made the wise (I wouldn’t have said that two months ago) to study abroad for the entire academic year. I highlighted what my goals were for my time off campus and reading it almost brought tears to my eyes, realizing that everything I thought I was
bullshitting carefully writing, have come true.
My goals for my time off campus are simple and realistic for me due to the fact that I am not entirely sure of the challenges that I will encounter while abroad and I want to maintain a positive attitude without overwhelming myself too much. My professor once told me that he was confident in the fact that I could become fluent in the Italian language while abroad. Since I have a Spanish speaking background, I never thought I would be studying yet another language (to become my third) in college. Before Dickinson, I had zero experience in Italian but now I have been exposed to another culture and the Bologna study abroad program will allow me to experience what I’ve been reading in textbooks, first hand. Thus, I am going to try my best to master this language along with learning more cultural aspects of the country, living with a host family, taking classes at an Italian university and by possibly doing research. Another goal of mine is to travel as often as I can since I will be spending almost a year in Europe. I have never been to Europe before and I want to take full advantage of my surroundings. Through personal travel I will be able to break out of my comfort zone and meet local people and other students who may be doing different abroad programs. I want to make myself as least tourist-like as possible in order to make the most out of my time. Additionally, I want to build close relationships with the other students on my program and come back to Dickinson wanting to talk all about my experiences.
-Jasmin L., abroad application (Feb. 2017)
I’ve been babbling I presume. I’ve been procrastinating a 10 page paper I have to write before next week. But I did feel like I needed to spit all of these words out here.
I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like having to say goodbye to this place and its people. Never again will I have the opportunity to take advantage of an experience like this and although I am looking forward to being home with my family, I’m not sure how I’m going to pick up my real life again.
Have you ever had to move from place to place? From a new job or a new home or a new city? What’s it like? How do you adjust?
Thanks for all the support on this thing I call my notepad.