The Reality of Returning Home

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Max Leo
December 23, 2018

It’s a very tough realization when you return home from an amazing trip and realize that no one cares as much about it as you do. You will have friends and family members who ask a few questions and are interested in your photos, but no one will ever share the same level of enthusiasm that you have. This can be tough, and it is just one of the struggles that you will encounter.

It’s also hard to reconcile with the fact that the semester you looked forward to for so long is now over. There is no future semester abroad, just back to your home university, where things will be very much the same. You may have changed a lot, but chances are that your friends and your environment at home and at school will not have. This can seem very strange and like a bad thing, but it should not be taken this way. You have grown, and you can now add new perspectives, and that is very cool. You can now relate to people who you couldn’t before, and your mind will have expanded to accept new ideas. Studying abroad should open doors for new opportunities but be aware that it might take some effort to get to that point.

Life may seem boring once you are back home. You will not be travelling as much, and you will most likely be focusing a little more on your academics. This can be disheartening and make you miss abroad so much more. It’s not bad to miss your time abroad but try to recognize how lucky you were to have it, and how it has enabled you to be a better student with all of your new knowledge. You may not be in a foreign country, but there are plenty of ways to stay engaged with other cultures. Getting involved with your study abroad office or cultural societies on campus will allow you to reminisce with other people about places you visited and loved.

Recognize that there are other ways to gain international exposure. I spent last summer interning at a real estate development company in Mumbai. I found out about the opportunity through my universities career center. Most likely your university will have connections abroad, and simply sending an email to the individual and explaining your situation can land you an internship as well. Gaining international work experience teaches you not only about the field that you are working in, but also about the work culture of another country. Keep in mind that these opportunities are usually unpaid, but many universities will have scholarships available for students taking unpaid or international internships.

Study abroad is an incredible experience, and it’s easy to miss it when you return home but realizing that travelling abroad is always a possibility and has allowed me to really reconcile with that longing to be back in Shanghai or Milan. If you want an international life, all you have to do is make it happen; there are opportunities out there.

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Max Leo

<p>Hi, I'm Max! I am studying Real Estate and finance and have spent all of 2018 traveling. I began domestically, visiting St. Louis, Charleston and NYC in January. Then in February, I headed to China to spend the semester at Fudan University in Shanghai! I got to travel to over 15 different cities in China while there. Next, I spent a few days in Hong Kong as a tourist before heading to Mumbai to spend July and August working for a real estate development company. I have a passion for cross-cultural interaction and this year has truly allowed to explore that.</p>

2018 Fall
Home University:
George Washington University, The
Boiling Springs, PA
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