Returning home from a semester abroad can seemingly come with just as many challenges as leaving in the first place. Reintegration to routines, reverse culture shock and people who really don’t want to hear any more wild out-of-country adventure stories are just a few adjustments post-abroad students often find themselves making upon returning to the U.S. of A. After a few months back home or back at school, time spent abroad can start to feel like a dream stuck somewhere between football games and exams. Combatting homesickness for your new favorite country is possible, however, even back in State College, by incorporating your newfound habits alongside your old Penn State routines.
One of the most common and noticeable culture shocks students face when first traveling abroad is in relation to food. Whether it’s bread and cheese in France or tapas in Spain, bringing new culinary favorites back to your daily diet both maintains your expanded palette and introduces new flavors to friends and family. Plan a wine and cheese night with your friends, show off the authentic pasta-making skills you’ve learned or order a plate of fish and chips next time you’re out to lunch.
Keep Your Friends Close
If you travelled with friends from school, keeping in touch is debatably the easiest way to keep memories alive. Whether it be a night in reminiscing about your favorite stories or a night out partying the way you did abroad, maintaining the friendships either made or strengthened overseas is a simple way to quell the desire to hop on a plane and jet back.
Learn the Language
If the study of the native language was part of your abroad curriculum, building upon your new knowledge is a way to transfer your time abroad not only into your social life, but into your academics as well. If not, picking up the language in an introductory level Penn State class can continue and expand upon your experience with a new culture. Adding the appropriate level language class to your enrollment cart both keeps you connected to your experience and opens up possibilities for any future experiences you may have if you choose to travel back.
Studying abroad and traveling for months with friends is a life-changing experience. Missing the limited time you spent away from home is only natural upon returning, and, at risk of being *that* person, supplementing your tales from abroad with your new habits and routines is a surefire way to keep your favorite memories alive.