Readjusting to the American Life

Jennifer Zhang
January 1, 2018

Asking for a friend: is it possible to feel a mix of gratitude to be home and nostalgia to be back in London? I've been back in America for about a week and a half now, and here's what I am experiencing. 

1) Remembering to add tips to bills

My best friend, Eleanor, and I went to a Thai restaurant as my first eating-out meal back in America. We decided that she would pay and I would Venmo her. In the past four months, I usually see how much my meal costed, convert the amount of British pounds to U.S. dollars on Google, and then Venmo from there. But this time, as I was about to Venmo her, I saw that she was calculating how much we should leave as tip. Internal light bulb went on: Oh right, taxes and tips are not included in American bills (for the most part)!

2) Not being able to walk everywhere

It is almost impossible to explore the city without a car in Los Angeles, because everything is far apart from each other. I live about 20 minutes away from downtown, but I still have to drive on the freeway to get there. When I return to Washington, D.C. for my second half of junior year, I would have wide access to public transportation to get me around. While it is difficult to walk the entire D.C. area without using the metro or bus, it is still doable.

With that said, I miss being able to walk 25 minutes to Oxford Street to do a little shopping and walk 15 minutes to Angel to spend some time with friends at a pub. While I had the option of using the bus or the tube if I was tired/lazy, I did not have to rely on public transit to get me from point A to point B.

3) Accidentally using British jargon

In the times I have hung out with friends from home, I have kept saying:

  • meters, instead of miles
  • pounds, instead of dollars
  • port, instead of charging outlet
  • trousers, instead of pants

Wow, didn't know I had some British in me until I came back home! Living somewhere for an extended period of time does have an impact on someone, no matter how much he/she does not notice it. 

4) “When I was in Europe”

There is a saying that those who study abroad in Europe won’t and can't stop talking about it when they get back – and for me, that’s pretty accurate. Whenever I am talking to someone (and really, anyone), I would subconsciously bring the conversation to an experience I had in Europe. Phrases that start off like “Oh, that reminds me of the time when I was out clubbing in Barcelona…” or “Yeah, in Copenhagen…” are usually fascinating, but eventually tedious, for those who did not also go abroad. This makes me realize how much I have learned and experienced while abroad, and how much I will miss this 4-month adventure every time I look back on it.

Jennifer Zhang

<p style="margin-bottom:12.0pt">Hello and welcome! I am so excited to share my abroad adventures with you here. My love for travel (integrating into different cultures, trying new food, ~attempting~ to pick up languages quickly) + dream of studying abroad in London = eager Jen who truly thinks this will be an experience of a lifetime. With that said... HERE. WE. GO!!<span style="text-autospace:none"><span style="font-size:16.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times&quot;,serif"> </span></span></span></p>

2017 Fall
Home University:
American University
San Gabriel, CA
Business Administration
Explore Blogs