Another New Beginning

So I’ve officially been back at school for over a week now. My education is once again in my own hands and I’ve had to readapt to my school once more.
I, personally, did not encounter any “reverse-culture shock”, but I’m thinking it’s because I already had that when I was in Berlin (meaning it was much more westernized than my time in China and Mongolia). The biggest change was I could talk to family and friends whenever I wanted! It was amazing to see my family again, but I did get that dreaded question at least every other day that I was home. You know which one. The vague question that asks nothing, but demands everything: “So, how was it?”
Answering that question was the hardest thing I had to do while home. What should I say? I momentarily panicked every time I heard it.
“It was amazing!”
“The longer I was there, the weirder it got.”
“I had an incredible time.”
“The language barrier was so hard. I had never even heard Mongolian before!”
“You can’t get by with English there, you need Chinese.”
“There were so many people from so many different backgrounds.”
“Oh, here’s an interesting fact…” followed by any and all historical facts I could think of off the top of my head.
But once we got past that initial question (I took it upon myself to narrow it down and begin talking about once specific topic) it was a rush of words I didn’t know how to stop. I wanted to tell every one every single tid bit of my journey, but it’s not the easiest thing to do.

Getting back to school was a little easier. Most of my classmates had been abroad all fall semester as well, so we all seemed to skip that part and simply move on to integrating examples of our abroad life into our conversations.
The hardest part of my coming back to school is actually remembering how I learn.
I go to a very special program (I create my own major, remember?) where we can contract our classes to what suits us best (with the professor’s agreement). For example, for my Bodies and Society class, I’ve contracted to replace my final exam with a film advocating for body positivity, and, as a fall back, an analytical essay of today’s pop culture and what views we get of bodies from modern TV and film.
It has taken me a while to remember how to learn, because for the past two years my learning has been in my hands more so than most college students can say. I’ve missed it, but it was nice to not pile myself with extra work. In the end, I’m endlessly in love with my school and I’m so grateful to be back again, learning what I want and how I need to do it.

IES gave me a great opportunity to learn in Berlin, and it’s someplace I certainly want to return to.