Well, let's start out with the obvious: adjusting back to American culture has been the easiest thing I've ever done. I loved exploring, putting myself into new situations and embracing the new cultures of Europe this summer, but my goodness if the air wasn't sweet as apple pie in that airport! I'm just a homebody at heart. I guess the biggest adjustment was racking my brain for all the different ways to thank someone; I stumble over responding "merci," "grazie," "gracias," and "thank you," and the first few times came out a jumbled, mumbled mess of "mer - graz -- thanks." Other than that, I'm right back in the heart of the Midwestern culture that raised me.
Being from the Midwest, we're known for our friendliness - something some Europeans may call "annoying" or "being nosey." However, I was just brought up that if you don't ask someone how they're doing, you're being impolite. Or if you don't smile when greeting or thanking someone, then it's just a little bit rude. I know that my over-politeness and warm demeanor towards strangers was something that immediately labeled me as American, but it was never something I was willing to give up for my time abroad. I know it's just a cultural norm, but I just wouldn't feel very happy with myself if I had not given a genuine smile and thank you to the workers I encountered on a daily basis.
Here I am going into my senior year of college (gulp!), and I feel so prepared. I'm a museum studies major, and I've interned and worked at museums in the past year, but this summer has given me so much insight into my future field of work. Before I left for this trip abroad, I thought I'd knew all there was to know about the business, but I was wrong. I was so consistently surprised with what I was learning and how the American museum industry differs from those in Europe. Each of the different museum systems were special (and sometimes quirky) in their own ways, and I loved learning all of the little things that make them different. So many times I've thought back to my classes in my home university and thought, "wow, that's something my professor/classmates would love to learn about." Between us, I'm actually really excited to brag about my time in museums abroad.
I'm someone who has gone on record saying that museums are my happy place, so thinking back to how I spent my summer was certainly something that I'll remember for the rest of my life. I'll spread the word, plant the seeds in all my younger peers, and shout from the rooftops about the beauties and wonders of studying abroad. I can't believe I even doubted going on this trip! I know it was just seven weeks, but eons can happen in such a short amount of time. As I was sitting in my window seat 30,000 feet above the beautiful countryside of Spain, I couldn't help but smile and realize that life has been so, so good to me.
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<p>I'm Kelly, 21-year old senior anthropology and museum studies student at Indiana University. When I'm not working or studying, you can find me drinking too much coffee, watching unhealthy amounts of tv, or writing one of the 4 stories I've started - usually all at the same time. Lover of pugs, the color green, and good wines. My blogs are for you if you're interested in traveling with anxiety, culture discussions, bad puns, tourist-y photos, sarcasm, and many, many useless facts.</p>