Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Life After Abroad

Time May 22nd, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Ireland | No Comments by

Wow, I never thought this day would come. I was so back-and-forth on going abroad in the first place, I never thought that I would go and miss it so much. The only thing that’s getting me through being back in The States is knowing that I will go back to Ireland one day and show my loved ones around.

Looking back, there were many challenges. Adjusting at the beginning of the semester to a new country, seeing my friends go back to school and having FOMO from parties, figuring my way around a new city, new school, and new grading system, finding a balance between time by myself and with friends (as it was my first time living in an apartment), learning how to cook, the list could go on and on. But the challenges were little speed bumps. They were hard for a day or maybe even a week, but I was over them in no time. I knew how temporary this semester was going to be.

One of the first weeks I sat down and wrote out all of the weekends I had in Ireland. Then I added the two IFSA trips, a few travels of my own, and I realized how short the semester would actually be. Thinking about it being so temporary made missing out on fraternity parties and tailgates much easier – especially when I was traveling around Ireland or the rest of Europe! Read More »


It’s like I never left

Time December 2nd, 2013 in College Study Abroad | 1 Comment by

They told me about the culture shock upon returning home. They told me I’d go through mood swings and have a hard time adjusting to life at home, both in school and with family.

But culture didn’t shock me…yet?

I expected a lot of things to happen when I came back to the United States, but not this. It’s actually been a very smooth transition.

Everything that happened in Costa Rica, from the flights there to the flights back, feel like a dream, like it never happened. All of the experiences I had and the sights I saw seem like something out of a movie.

Instead, I’m right back in “regular” life, where everybody speaks English, accepts American dollars, knows me as the Zach Cohen the student journalist and not as Zach Cohen the barely-proficient-in-Spanish gringo. Nobody and nothing has changed.

I spent the first few days back home watching TV, sleeping and eating all the American foods I missed so much. Then I went to D.C. to see friends and step on campus (pinned below) again. As I finish penning this blog post, I’m back in Massachusetts, where I began my journey. It’s been a glorious week and a half.

But I can’t stop thinking about, and talking about, Costa Rica.

Everything in that country that always felt so close now seems farther away, more distant. Already my memory has started to fade. The vision of my commute to school, the long bus rides to jungles and beaches, all appear more hazy than they did only a few days ago. All that remains are trinkets and photos.

I do miss Costa Rica, especially the coffee, the fresh fruit and, most importantly, my host family, with whom I still keep in touch via Facebook. But that chapter in my life is closed, and I’m satisfied with my experiences there.

I learned Spanish.

I made friends. Many amazing friends.

I explored new places and experienced amazing sights.

I learned to relax and embrace pura vida.

I even got a chance to be an international correspondent.

Costa Rica will always be a part of me, and it’s bittersweet to wish it farewell. The main thought that keeps me from feeling lost is the hope that I’ll return one day.

But until then, I’m grateful for the last four months. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.


This is my last blog post for IFSA-Butler. If you’ve been following along for the last semester, I sincerecly hope you’ve enjoyed my dispatches, both cogent and not. It warms my heart every time I hear from one of you about my blog, and I’m grateful (especially as we celebrate Thanksgiving) to have friends and family who care enough to read my ramblings.

If you’re just starting to read my posts now (or are considering studying abroad), you can find all of my posts here. Take a trip to Costa Rica through my eyes. If you’re so inclined, take a trip there yourself. The country makes it worth it. I humbly hope my attempts to portray Costa Rica do it justice.


Check out the rest of my adventure throughout Costa Rica here at IFSA-Butler’s blog, at my blog, on Twitter or even on Facebook.


Bidding goodbye to my home, and a couple of reflections

Time November 15th, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Nov. 15, 2013

Tomorrow I’ll be on a plane to Miami, and from there, to Newark, N.J.

And that’s that. That will be the end of my 4-month life in Costa Rica. No more Spanish, no more amazing mountains, jungles and beaches, no more delicious tico food.

No more hometown. No more host family.

No more study abroad.

It’s all a memory. And I’m OK with that.

Read More »


Helloooo EE.UU.

Time July 30th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Sunday, July 8–No puedo creer

7.01 am

I’m not ready.  Not ready to be here.  Not ready to not wake up in the city.  Not ready to hear English.  Not ready.

I cried on the plane watching the lights of Buenos Aires disappear behind me.  Not bawling, just a few tears.  But now that I have arrived in Atlanta 10 hours later, it feels like the last 5 months might have just been a dream.  20 weeks of ups and downs.  I don’t like how cheesy it sounds, but studying abroad has really changed me.  The things I used to focus on don’t seem as important anymore.  I’m not saying I’m not still excited to go shopping when I get home, but I’m more focused on financing my trip/potentially moving back to BsAs than buying a new pair of wedges.

It didn’t really hit me as real until I was waiting in line to board the plane behind a giant group of teenage Americans. (and it still hasn’t really kicked in that going back isn’t definite…yet) But they were probably around 15-16 years old and it seemed like there were 100 of them. all talking, mostly complaining, in English and just being the epitome of obnoxious Americans.  The idea of going back to that made me sick to my stomach.  I wanted to tell them to calm down and quit complaining, but I didn’t want to talk to them in English and give it away that I’m American too.  So instead I walked around their giant group and let two Argentines in front of me as the line finally started moving.

But thank god when the girl who ended up sitting next to me responded to me in Spanish after I asked her “de donde sos?”  funny thing was, she’s from New Jersey, but is living in Buenos Aires now.  She said she was relieved when I spoke to her in Spanish bc she was afraid I was with the group of kids.  She was probably the best plane friend I could have asked for, because, for one, she wasn’t an obnoxious American, and also she had been through the same thing as me a couple of years earlier after she studied abroad in the city.  Instead of giving me a weird look as I began to tear up, she gave me tissues.  After having met so many (not obnoxious) Americans like her in Buenos Aires, it makes my dream of moving back seem more tangible.  We exchanged information and I told her she might be getting a facebook message soon from me freaking out with reverse culture shock.

Sitting in the Atlanta airport, I’m already overwhelmed hearing English everywhere.  It’s not as easy to zone out on as Spanish, so it’s kind of giving me a headache.  Good I’ve still got some of the good Argentina ibuprofen (I think it’s prescription strength).  I just called my mom and left her a message in Spanish bc I don’t wanna do it yet.  I don’t want to speak English and be one of them.  I was fine speaking English with my plane friend because we knew Spanish was an option.  For some reason, that was more comforting.  But now, it’s kind of scary because it means I’m here to stay.  And I don’t want that right now.

I’ve been excited to come back to the warm summer on the lake since the cold started in BsAs, but now that the time’s finally arrived, the cold is looking that much better.  But I can’t lie that I am still really excited to see my friends and family.  and to eat a giant salad. with jalapeños.  and to not have to spend money every day.

I don’t know what to think right now.  It’s all just weird.  just got to go day by day, I guess?