It has been well over a month since I returned to the states from my semester studying abroad in Ireland and then traveling for three weeks post my program ending. During that time a lot has happened, I graduated at the beginning of May and then shortly after moved back to Seattle. This past week I fully finished unpacking from the whirlwind that has been my life since I set off on my adventure at the end of 2018. A month later I still struggle to wrap my head around the idea that I spent the first four months of this year living in a little apartment in Dublin, I often miss the view from my window each morning.
Coming home is different for everyone, but I think most returned abroad students would agree that it is a bittersweet feeling. Obviously, I do not speak for everyone, but in my case, it is exactly that. By the time I stepped on the plane for my flight from Iceland to Chicago I was ready to be back in the city I had called home for two years. I was exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally. Getting back to friends and familiarity was a welcome change and felt like the correct place to be. Over the last month my emotions about abroad have varied. I love being home and getting to see friends and family, I was excited to get behind the wheel of my car for the first time in a while, I enjoy going out for foods I missed while abroad and drinking iced coffee, which was not an easily found commodity while in Ireland. Some days though, I miss the lifestyle of Dublin, knowing exactly what the day had in store. An aspect of abroad that I loved was that even on days when I didn’t have plans there was always something to do and new places to go explore. I miss days filled with excitement and new experiences. For someone who doesn’t love flying I even miss the travel, getting to explore a new country every couple of weeks was exciting and definitely a highlight of my time abroad. I believe I echo the feelings of many abroad students when I say I am ready to go back. This time I’d take my family and friends with me because yes, the homesickness was tough and I missed everyone dearly, but I’m ready to be back in my home across the Atlantic.
The new normal is filled with applying for jobs and the stressors of post-graduate life. It is also filled with fond memories of adventures in Europe and experiences that will forever hold a place in my heart.