Back in the US
The IFSA-Butler study abroad Peru program ended just about two weeks ago, but it seems like so much longer. At least it does most of the time, until I´m talking to a friend and all of a sudden she´s talking about things that I have absolutely never heard of and I realize that I actually haven´t caught up on everything I missed yet. There are new malls and babies and jobs and future plans. It´s pretty fun to hear updates on things that happened while I was gone, and a drive around my town is occasionally brightened by the discovery of a new sports field or giant used book store.
Despite all that, there´s a lot that hasn´t changed at all. It´s all the same people that I left, and they´re pretty much doing the same things. In a way it´s comforting, and in a way it´s a little disappointing. but I´m not going as stir-crazy as I thought I would be.
Whether or not I went abroad this semester, it would have been my last in college, and so I think I´d be in the same situation now–coming home to Burlington and looking at the town with a little bit of distance. I think that what being abroad makes different is that I´m handling being here better than I otherwise would have. In Peru I enjoyed the daily challenge of living life in Spanish and finding my way in a foreign city, but that experience makes being in my town, where I can name almost every street and one person who lives on it, a nice change.
Also, I think that my experiences during the Peru study abroad program and in the Dominican Republic made me a lot more flexible. When I arrived at each place I had to adapt, and I tried to do so with a good attitude and take everything as it came. I think that doing that made the adjustment to being back here much easier. After all, what´s moving back in with your father compared to living with three very different host families in 6 months?
I´ve heard that “reverse culture shock” is worse than the forward variety, but so far it doesn´t seem too bad. I think things might be different if I found myself back at Brown with classmates who had been there the whole semester, but maybe since this time was always going to be a big transition it was the perfect time to go abroad, and to come back.