Studying Abroad: We’re Home?
Landing on the tarmac of LAX was a significant punch in the gut. The seat belt sign illuminated my tears. The anxiety of readjusting to life in California came soon after my fellow travel comrades and I returned to the States.
After spending five months traveling in Europe and elsewhere, meeting people from around the world, and creating a connection with another country, it felt like the experience would never end. Studying abroad brings confidence and a new perspective, learning that the world is so small yet also so big.
Dana Figeuroa-Aragon, fashion merchandise major, and Jackie Baiz, a psychology major, studied abroad with me in Glasgow, Scotland last spring. Traveling with them during our studies created a bond that has helped us with our reentry to the States.
“Being back in general felt weird,” Dana said. “It was almost as if I had never left, and that was kind of depressing.”
Dana arrived home on the night of Father’s Day and, after feeling exhausted from travel, zipped to bed only to wake up early in the morning to go to work at her mom’s wedding dress boutique.
“It was straight to work, back to the usual summer schedule,” she said.
The shock of being home was overwhelming for Jackie.
“To be honest, as soon as the plane hit the ground and the unbuckling sign went on I cried,” she said. “I panicked because I wasn’t ready to get off the plane, I don’t think I could have ever felt ready.”
As the driving force for bringing flat mates out to pub nights, to clubs and getting fellow international students together, Jackie constantly misses the people she met in Glasgow.
For myself, it was the close proximity to the places I used to dream about that I miss the most. Being able to hop on a plane and be in Dublin in less than an hour, and traveling to Morocco without breaking the bank were just some gifts that came out of my study abroad experience.
“Go do it. If you don’t, you are making the biggest mistake of your life,” advises Jackie. “I can’t tell you exactly how you will change because you might not at all, but I will say I find it a deprivation of learning more about life if you choose not to go.”
Talking with fellow students who are thinking about studying abroad has helped Dana, Jackie and I adjust to being back at Cal State Long Beach.
“Studying abroad will open your eyes to so many things,” Dana said. “And you will see the world in a different perspective. A better one. And also be ready to satisfy that travel bug when you get back.”
By Madison D’Ornellas