The Readjustment Period

Ashton Diggs
August 5, 2022
Sydney sun reflection off water

I think most people will tell you that coming home after a study abroad experience is hard. I knew this, I believed it, but I didn't expect it to affect me this much. I didn't expect readjustment to be such a full body experience. I didn't know how much Sydney changed me until I wasn't there. Sydney is one of those places that gets inside you and changes you in ways you've never expected.

In my first few days back in the States, one of the strangest things I noticed was the change in my caffeine tolerance. In Australia, most coffee drinks are made with espresso, and I developed a taste for cappuccinos while abroad. I tried an iced coffee when I came home, and it may as well have been water for as much as the caffeine affected me. After getting used to hearing my own heartbeat after having a cup of Aussie coffee, this was quite a change. I think I'll have to do a caffeine detox before American coffee will give me any sort of boost. 

I've also consistently been looking the wrong direction when I cross the street, my brain now used to looking right before left. It's strange now having to look left first, and I often have to look several times in each direction. I almost ran in front of a car a few days ago, so I think that may have cured the confusion. Time will tell. 

In addition to the funnier adjustments I've had to make, it's been difficult to get used to the fact that I'm not in a walkable city anymore. I have to drive everywhere, and as much as I love driving, I do miss being able to walk to get dinner or go to the store. It was relaxing just being able to turn off my mind and walk, and now I'm back to having to drive everywhere which is so strange. 

One of the most profound changes I've seen in myself since being in Sydney is my confidence. I feel so much more comfortable just going up to strangers and starting conversations and I think this must be something I picked up in Australia. I also just feel like I know so much more about myself and who I want to be. 

All in all, I feel like the adjustment period coming home has been a bit worse because I don't have the added excitement of being in a new place. It feels almost like Sydney was a dream, and now I'm waking up, feeling a little disoriented. I'll miss strong coffee and public transportation, but mostly I'm going to miss the way Sydney made me feel. I felt adventurous and excited and brave in Sydney, and it's hard going back to what I've always known. It doesn't feel like I'm back yet, and I still wake up every morning thinking I'm in Sydney. Missing a place you wish you could go back to is difficult, but having something to miss means I had something great while I was there. Even if it's hard being back, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.  

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Ashton Diggs

<p>Being from a small town in Oklahoma, I've always been eager to travel and see the world. Through IES Abroad, I have had the incredible opportunity to be an intern in Sydney for the summer. Through this, I have been able to develop my dreams into passions. At the University of Missouri, I am studying English and psychology, which encompasses so many of my passions. In my free time, I love to read, write, and cook!</p>

2022 Summer 1, 2022 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Missouri - Columbia
Jenks, Oklahoma
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