Foreign Experiences: Returning from Abroad

By Asia Morris '12Staff Writer

A number of students just returned from studying abroad this semester and were willing to share with us what it’s like being back home and living on Scripps campus.

Where did you study abroad and through what program? Michelle Plotkin, 21, Junior, studied in Rome, Italy though Temple University

Lauren Escobar, 21, Junior, studied in London, England through UCL

Annsley McKinney, 20, Junior studied in Granada, Spain through Central College, Iowa What were some of your first thoughts after arriving at home? Michelle: “I was really sad. I remember when we were in the process of leaving and packing up our things, I had mixed feelings about the situation. I was feeling like I could really use the comforts of home, but once I was home I was really sad that it was over.”

Lauren: “I heart America (pauses for laughter)… but I was actually able to get back into the swing of things very quickly. We have everything here, everything is so easy to get, like water and lemon for free …”

Annsley: “I was excited to see my family, and there were certain aspects I missed, like favorite foods, making my own schedule, cooking for myself… but I was really bummed about not being in Spain and I felt, immediately, like I had maybe not done as much as I had hoped. I could think of 10 things I wanted to go back and do. I was also just exhausted so it was weird not having anything to do for the first couple of days. I was super restless, but I needed it. I got sick almost immediately after getting home! My body just gave up after four months of going and going.”

What has it been like attempting to describe your experience to other people? Michelle: “It’s really hard to describe it, like how do you describe an entire semester of things that have happened? It was just good, and sometimes that’s all you can say.”

Lauren: “Sometimes it’s easier to describe something that wasn’t so great, like Michelle said, everything was just good. It sounds like a really general answer to describe such an amazing experience, but sometimes that’s just all you can say. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what was so great about it, like thinking of a specific event is hard. It’s just great knowing that your experience was good and it’s okay to be sad that it’s over.”

Annsley: “It has been great because I love to talk about Granada because I miss it so much. I often feel like when I am telling stories for example, like usually more specific situations, that I get really excited about and then it ends up being a ‘You had to be there’ moment and its disappointing that they're not as excited as I am! I always seem to talk about the general things too, like how much I loved my host family, how my classes were really interesting and the city and less about my friends there or what I did on a day-to-day basis. Those seem like less interesting things to talk about to someone who didn’t experience it.”

Now that you are back to school and are “back in the swing of things” do you have a different perspective of your surroundings? Lauren: “I definitely appreciate the weather here a lot more, it was so shitty in London.”

Michelle: “It took a while to get used to being able to understand and connect with strangers because you can understand the language, and everything here is super convenient. I definitely appreciate the comforts of America; we have everything we’ll ever need, whenever we need it.”

Annsley: “Yes, I think? I would say yes, in that some things that I used to get excited about, like certain parties or meals at the dining hall (haha yeah, I know...) seem like more trivial things to be excited about. Like, I would be much more excited to go to a club or go out for tapas. The college culture here is so different and so sometimes I feel like I do so much less on a day-to-day basis than I did in Spain. I miss the aspect of social culture that involved going out into town and spending hours having lunch or tapas, so I don’t know… maybe everything here seems less exciting, like, less fulfilling maybe.”