Alex Nguyen
January 13, 2016

I'm finally back in the States and it's still a bit surreal to me, but I feel an overwhelming sense of calm in life. Adjusting back to life here isn't the hardest, but rather trying to not long for what was proves more difficult. It's done and over with—my study abroad adventures have ended and I have to use them to shape my life now and in the future rather than obsessing over them for sentiment's sake. Obviously, this applies for any and every experience, but I think it's a bit more nuanced here.

Regardless, being back feels actually fine to me. There are parts of life that I do wish I could have here that are simply impossible, but that's that. The pace of life back home doesn't necessarily feel different at all to me, but rather there's a bit more complexity to it now that I have new insights gained. Honestly, I feel as if most things haven't radically changed since leaving (myself included), but rather that they've all grown with time and care. Nothing is static.

Maybe I'm too much of a chameleon or an optimist, but whatever because this is my story. It feels nice to be home. Besides, I'll be traveling soon enough and before I even know it, I'll be right back in Japan. What's important for me right now is taking the time to just decompress, get rid of jet lag, and tend to my business before jumping right back into the pace of the new semester. In the past, I've dreaded the transition from break to school again mostly because I wanted more time for myself. Well, I've had about four months of that to date, so I think I'm more than ready to return. Perhaps it's the growth and experiences I've had abroad or perhaps it's the natural progress of age or perhaps it's both, but I feel at once ready and eager (this is rare) to venture back into the realm of American college culture, academia, work, etc.

One word that comes to mind very much so these days is thankful. I'm just so incredibly thankful for everything I've received and shared these past four months. From the experiences to the friends to the moments, I would not be who I am right now without them. This goes for everyone, but I think the specificity of studying abroad emphasizes this fact. I'm always grateful for the things I get to do and have, but even more so right now. I feel at peace, wiser, and other little cliche feelings. I'm humbled and happy. I don't feel as if my world has fundamentally shifted or as if I'm back in some sort of hell (yet). Anyways, that's just me. My time studyign abroad these past four months has been phenomenal, and I'm grateful to have shared it with you. Here's to the next book in life. 

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Alex Nguyen

<p>Hi, I&#39;m Alex. I&#39;m a junior at Columbia University majoring in Urban Studies and dabbling in other areas of interest like race &amp; ethnicity studies. Outside of school, I like to eat, cook, take pictures, shop, have long conversations, and travel. Food, fashion, culture, literature, and music are all things I love. Black and gold are my favorite colors. Having lived in New York City for two years now, I feel quite at home. However, living in Japan is something I have wanted to do all my life, so I&#39;m quite excited to finally live out that dream. From the local culture to the food to the fashion, I&#39;m pumped to engage with it all during my semester abroad.</p>

2015 Fall
Home University:
Columbia University - CC and SEAS
Urban Studies
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