Moving Forward But Not Leaving Chile Behind
(Part 2 of my post-study-abroad entry.)
2. Things Aren’t So Bad Here After All.
Yes, I did (and still do) have a pretty bad case of reverse culture shock. But I’m getting over it. Really, I am.
Strategy number 1: Let your friends drag you to your old usual haunts. This is what I did all winter break–the month in San Francisco between my return from Chile and my return to Barnard. I saw my friends (and sister) almost every day and we went to classically San Franciscan places like the beach (did I mention yet that global warming has led to a beautiful December and January for us this winter?) and the top of the hill with the best view of the entire city. We ate good Mexican taqueria food, which I really missed while abroad and always miss when I’m in New York, and we drank bubble tea, and we did everything we used to do. The only difference this time around was the earful my friends got about Chile. I’m sure that if they have to hear “In Chile…” one more time they are going to cry.
Strategy number 2: Talk about your experiences, whether people want to hear about it or not. It is best if your listener actually wants to be listening to you babble on about how amazing Chilean folklore music is, but it’s OK if they don’t care. Not everyone will, but you still must share your stories. And what I still have yet to do is go to the one place where I am guaranteed that my study abroad stories will be considered fascinating and important on my campus: the study abroad office. It’s definitely on the agenda.
Strategy number 3: Speak in Spanish. There are more Spanish speakers in the Bay Area and the New York City area than I could meet even if I spent every second of my days meeting new Spanish speakers. There is no excuse. There is no excuse. I can maintain my Spanish fluency, so now I must.
IFSA-Butler has given many other great suggestions for making a successful transition back to U.S. life and I plan to give the ideas a try. Volunteering, for example. I think I’ll also pursue that Spanish minor now and look for ways that I can return to, if not Chile specifically, at least to Latin America.
So, here’s to moving forward but keeping Chile with me as I go. Thank you for reading about my experiences. Que les vaya muy bien.
Tags: reverse culture shock