Final Reflection: How Life Feels Different After You’ve Studied Abroad

Rudrayani Upadhyay
January 11, 2022

The differences between Europe, in my case Amsterdam, and the United States are immensely vast. Life is different, people are different, places are different, culture is different, food is different. The U.S. that I entered two and half years ago compared to the U.S. that I entered after living in Amsterdam for four months feels different. When you think about how quickly you can accustom yourself to a new place and new culture is quite crazy. Now I know those who go abroad and come back a “changed” person is laughed at, but I would say there is some truth to that change. At least temporarily, because ever since I came back from Amsterdam, I feel a little disoriented and I subconsciously keep trying to falling back to habits that I developed in my four months abroad.

For instance, I realized how much my daily routine had revolved around spending time with friends and being tourists together that once I left Amsterdam it felt weird to just be on my own in a place where I didn’t have to be a tourist anymore. It was nice to have had friendships that were established and maintained within such close proximity because it was convenient for us to hang out whenever and for however long we wanted. But things are different now, at least momentarily because I’m not living in a student hotel anymore with my friends, and I undoubtedly miss that already.

Another major difference I feel as I reflect on my time in Amsterdam is the high of living in a city that is so full of life. Most colleges in the U.S. are situated in rural, secluded areas that separate you from the hustle and bustle of the city. At least that’s how it is for me here. Forty to forty-five minutes from the city with no access to public transportation, so I barely ever get to experience that life. But in Amsterdam, I would catch the tram or train right outside our hotel and get to the city in just minutes. That too, I miss undoubtedly.

This is where the change I was talking about comes into play. When you experience life in a new place, you learn the feeling of a different type of life, and that’s what brings the change. When I go back to Nepal after living in the U.S., my habits are changed, my perspective is slightly changed and that just means I have adapted. It has been similar in this case too because in those four months, I tried to adapt to the way of life in Amsterdam and even after coming back to the U.S., it has stuck with me. I know it is eventually going to fade away because that life is over now, but the experience is going to stick with me for life and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I can now proudly say that I have lived life in three continents of the world: Asia, North America, and Europe, and they have all molded me into the person I am today, and Europe has been the most recent one to thank for that.

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Rudrayani Upadhyay

<p>I am an international student from Kathmandu, a small city in Nepal, currently pursuing my Bachelor's degree at DePauw University in Indiana. I'm majoring in Neuroscience and have a keen interest in psychology. There are a few things that I enjoy doing in my free time, like singing, trying out new recipes, reading, etc. I have fostered a lot of cats back at home in Nepal so yes I'm a cat lady, but I absolutely love dogs as well. I'm mostly an introvert but if you come talk to me I promise I won't be awkward, I do enjoy having conversations with people and learning new perspectives.</p>

2021 Fall
Home University:
DePauw University
Kathmandu, Nepal
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