I want you to recall your first steps off of the plane, the packing, anticipating, and finally arriving. After months or maybe years of pre-planning this was your chance to discover what your new city had to offer. In the beginning, the purpose was to discover every inch of your brand-new beauty. So that’s what you did. Grabbed a ticket every weekend to other surrounding discoveries, walked the streets alongside the professor revealing small-unknown truths about the city, and made friends with the locals and surrounding sojourners.
I want you to re-imagine your departure, the packing, apprehension, and finally leaving. After a month or a year of arguably the most growing moments of your life, your time was up and you would hop on the plane and turn back. In the end, the purpose was to heal from your separation anxiety and figure out how to begin taking in all that you really experienced. Cue the many Instagram ‘TBT’ posts and your good intentioned – but overzealous way of sharing your adventures with people who, “just had to be there to understand.”
Now what if I told you that you could go back. I know you already promised yourself you would and made plans for it to be a future endeavor but what if you were intentional about it now. Do you know that your time abroad didn’t only offer you the greatest paella, or just tips on how to pack light, but also a cultural lens? Now this lens wasn’t actually given to you so don’t go rummaging through your travel memorabilia, rather, it’s a figurative concept. Many of you may already be aware because this word is used a lot when considering assimilation and believe it or not you fall into that category. So here are some tips on how to return to your country and put on your lenses:
- Call up your favorite local and crash alongside them.
- Surprise yourself on just how much you remember about the best places to eat and parks to escape into.
- Call up a fellow sojourner to re-take the adventure with you.
- Visit places you didn’t have a chance to visit before.
- Go back to the places you loved visiting the first time around.
- Pick up the language you said you would continue on with but just never found the time to.
- Remind yourself of what it means to take a solo trip again.
- Buy a souvenir to represent your second time around.
- Journal! Journal! Journal! You are proud of yourself. The fact that you followed though is something that most definitely needs to be documented.
- Make plans to return again, after all, a re-discover is what you are!
Parisia B is an Alumni Ambassador at CEA Study Abroad, she is currently a student at Hampton University and studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain.