Finally Home! A Post-return Reflection

Daisy Humphries
January 31, 2022

            After returning to the States, it’s been surreal. Christmas break was an in-between time for how much of my responsibilities came back. Part of it covered in the pain of the flu as I didn’t have enough time after coming back to get the flu shot that I missed while abroad, and the rest was shining in the embrace of loved ones. There were several things I missed while abroad like all my cozy blankets and my family and friends. However, the one thing I was curious about was how would I feel about my time abroad after I settled back home. What did I miss, what did I struggle to adjust back to, and how do I feel it changed me?

            First things first, like I always said while I was abroad, my time abroad felt like a fever dream. An experience so different from my normal day-to-day that it’s hard to truly conceptualize that the two realities can exist in the same lifetime. That can be true of any big change in life, but I find the feeling to be amazing. It’s the part I love most about traveling.

            As for what I miss from my experience abroad, the top thing that comes to mind is the cuisine. Like, all the (better) bread and cheese options as well as how much better the food quality in France is. Sometimes I just want to get some fresh baguettes from a boulangerie, not the 2 or 3 industrial baguettes in the grocery store bakery. Additionally, I loved how easy it was to get a good quality salad. Before coming to France, I struggled to find a good salad, but on my first night in France, I fell in love with the simple salad (good quality lettuce, vinaigrette, and cherry tomato halves). Other food things that were particularly special to me were the potato wedges at McDonald's and how much my friend Sophia and I kept craving sushi.

            As for other things I missed when I got back, I struggled with missing the friends I made of course, but I also missed the exploration, always finding something new and beautiful. Another thing I missed was the freedom of taking the train across France. Although I love to drive and be on my own schedule instead of the bus’s schedule, I still think the U.S. should invest more into recreational transportation via trains. Although France was later to building railways than us, they did a wonderful job in creating a simple train system for travelers. So, I’ll miss the idea that with a few euros and spending a few hours, I could see the south of France with ease.

            Despite all the things I miss and struggle to adjust to in their absence, my experience abroad truly taught me many things. Not only do I have more confidence in myself which took time, I really came to know that to live and grow comes from a lack of comfortability and trying new things no matter what pre-misconceptions you may have of what you are capable of. Another way I’ve grown or changed is that I have a new perspective on the world by having the opportunity to navigate a new culture that although it has similarities to the U.S. there are still differences that made me reflect on what I know about living. One of those differences is my focus on immersing in the French language. It’s one thing to spend years learning a language in the classroom and learning the process of language and bilingualism as I have in my psychology classes as well as on my own. However, this experience has given me a newfound respect and understanding for those speaking a non-native language in a foreign country. There comes great anxiety that could be harmful to mental health but also you grow and learn that there are always some ways to get to the point of what you want to say if you don’t have the right words (i.e., body movements or circumventing around words you forget). At the end of the day, I know that my adventure studying abroad will be one of the most important stories in my life that I will be sharing pieces of for probably until—like I always say—I’m old rocking back and forth in my rocking chair.

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Daisy Humphries

<p>Hello, everyone! My name is Daisy Humphries. I am a senior double majoring in Psychology and French at Wofford College. I am a first-generation college student from a small town in South Carolina, and I am beyond excited to share these once-in-a-lifetime experiences with you all from my humble perspective. I love to read, write, travel, eat food, and spend time with my family. I'm also quite determined and ambitious even if it scares me, but hey, what's bravery without some fear and nervousness? As I've learned, you have to be uncomfortable to change for the better, so let's do that!</p>

Home university:
Wofford College
Hometown:
Cowpens, SC
Major:
French Language
Psychology
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