Well it's been over a week since I returned to the good 'ole United States, and my biggest fear of reverse culture shock was the same for my culture shock on arriving to Italy, pretty much non-existent. I guess that's a good thing, but it also makes me think that I never really acclimated to the Italian culture in the first place. That, or I'm not easily shocked culturally. Nothing has surprised me thus far, but it is good to see a healthy amount of water in the toilet bowl again. Also nice to not have to pay for water. It's always the little things for me. The best thing about coming home in reconnecting with all the people you missed (shout out to Hannah (my girlfriend)). It has gotten old telling people what was the best thing about Italy, not because of actually talking to people, but because it feels wrong to only give one thing. Then there are the people who ask what was the hardest thing, which really isn't that fun to talk about. So I'm not going to talk about that here. Then lastly, there are the best people, who just pick things back up right where you left it and you just can enjoy being home without thinking about how you aren't in Italy anymore. I do miss the friends I made in Italy (actually writing this post made me send a message to one of them to see how they were doing).
I don't really have any wisdom nuggets to drop on you, other then to not worry about culture shock. Before you go, and when you arrive in another country for a long time, everyone and their brother talks about culture shock, and basically made me think I was going to get derailed by it if I wasn't careful or prepared. I say be ready for it, just don't stress about it. It doesn't happen to everyone, so there's not really any use in worrying about it.
The stressful thing about studying abroad in Spring is coming back and realizing you don't have a summer job set up. Some of my classmates had interviews and the such, I just hung out, ate food, and drank wine. But now I'm in the position of Summer being just a few weeks away and not having a solid offer for an internship. So my last parting advice would be that if you study abroad, make sure to think past the semester and think about the summer as well.
For the last time,
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<p>My name is Scott Durrwachter, and I am a junior at Penn State studying Business Management. I am studying abroad in Siena, Italy on the Business and Economics of the Food and Wine Industry (does it get any better than that?). My goals in Italy are to keep studying the coffee industry (especially espresso) and to befriend an Italian grandmother who loves to cook.</p>