I'm home! But I feel foreign.
Okay, if you have been keeping up with my blog posts you would know that feeling foreign is pretty typical for me -- since I'm Brazilian but I currently live in the U.S. Nonetheless, New York is currently my home or as the hipsters say I'm presently based in New York. But the thing is, feeling foreign is probably one of the few familiar things in my life.
What I mean is, there's a certain level of comfort in feeling foreign, and I would like you to understand why. Because perhaps, you are currently feeling foreign too - or maybe, as if you don't belong. Well, I've been there, done that. Multiple times. Has it been an easy transition ever since I moved back to the U.S. after my semester abroad? Nope! Have I annoyed my friends and family members babbling about how much I love Barcelona? Yep... Have I mistakenly said "gracias" at the restaurant or went for the hug when greeting someone while forgetting that's not the cultural norm here in the U.S.? Uhum! And lastly, have I looked for tickets to Barcelona even though I left only two weeks ago? Heck yeah!
The thing is, the first weeks are the hardest; because chances are you came back different. So you will compare the countries you've been, the people you met, the culinary you tasted and that will interfere with the way you see the world - but hopefully in a positive way. I hope you will be able to embrace new cultures, have an easier time adapting to situations out of your comfort zone, think outside of the box when needed and just become a more cultured person altogether.
The level of comfort in feeling foreign that I mentioned before, comes from the fact that now you know that you don't have only one place to call home. Home is tied with our emotions; it's not a physical place like a house is, so yeah it is true what people say, home is where the heart is. And that can be multiple places. Consequently, you can feel foreign multiple times. But let me tell you something, unlike a house that is connected to something physical, your home is permanent since it's something immaterial -- it can constantly change and travel to other places. For that reason, your home will always be there for you; it is timeless.
So remember, Barcelona (or whatever place you lived abroad at) will always be there for you, keeping a little piece of your heart. In the meanwhile, feel grateful for feeling foreign because that means that you are traveled! Learn to apply the amazing things you learned abroad into your daily life while not forgetting that every place you live has an impact on your life, therefore, learn to embrace your own culture. So, my fellow foreign dude, it's time for you to go out there and conquer the world, you are no longer a citizen of your native country but rather a citizen of the world!
See ya soon,
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<p>My name is Beatriz, but most people call me Bia/Bea. I'm an IES Abroad alumni from the Barcelona liberal arts and business program from the Spring 2017 term. Studying abroad had such a fantastic impact in my life that I decided to do it again, during my last semester of college!</p>