Hello there, still feeling lots of feelings here. I’m just about done packing my life into a suitcase again. I board my flight tomorrow for a whole new adventure. I’m ready and bracing myself for the French language and culture shock part II to slap me in the face. I’m also really excited to eat a white chocolate Kinder Bueno again. I’ve found focusing on the parts you love about your destination will ignite the love you have for a place you used to call home.
In study abroad presentations we’d always talk about reintegration “being a journey in itself” and it sounds so cliched. I would roll my eyes at that because to me and most fresh returnees it was the worst part. Now I think I understand what that really means. Upon return from a long stint abroad you miss the things you learned to love abroad. Little by little you start to gain an appreciation for things you loved, you get involved again, make new friends and talk about your experience abroad less and less. You’ve internalized the changes you had abroad and you’re 100% fully adjusted to life back in the states.
I’ve realized in my readjustment from my first time in France, about two years ago. That I’ve grown to love the States, Michigan, the Midwest, Kalamazoo and Detroit. I don’t think I really realized it until just now as I’ve been making my last travel arrangements and thinking about packing. I like that we hug, we’re genuine, humble and helpful. We’re passionate about our state and really overall notorious for our kindness.
On the other side of things reintegration is not easy. Things don’t always go they way you dreamed them up on your plane home.There’s also this sense of alienation. You don’t fully belong in the states anymore or abroad and not that many can really identify with this.It’s hard to be between two cultures sometimes. It can be lonely and you can feel like no one quite understands you. You don’t fit in to your life back home as you used to, something is off and you can’t quite put your finger on it.
My partners in crime this year
Upon return I felt like I didn’t always fit in or know what I wanted. I battled a couple bouts of depression over the last two years. Sometimes people you think will always be there choose to leave your life or you leave theirs.
After I’d made my full adjustment to getting involved and doing my thing, making new friends, moving to a new house with new roommates. That’s when I felt so comfortable. And now in realizing I have to leave I think of how in my reintegration I gained a new appreciation for places I call home, old friends and just the little things. I’m now super comfortable and have accumulated so many memories and so much stuff over the past two years.
Cheers to having to do the cultural adjustment in a different way, all over again. See you on the other side of the pond!