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What it's Like Coming Home From Study Abroad


Studying abroad is the highlight of many collegiettes' college educations, and rightly so. Living in a foreign country for months and sampling the food, art and culture (and, yes, the hotties) is even better than you'd imagined, and you're having the time of your life! But sooner than you'd like, your time in paradise comes to an end and you must pack up your three suitcases (yes, you now have three because you bought so much stuff that you needed a third... good luck lugging those through the airport) and return home. 

As you might imagine, returning from study abroad is bittersweet. On one hand, you can't wait to get back to 'Murica and see your family and friends, enjoy your mom's home cooking and lie on the couch all day with your pets. On the other hand, you've become unexpectedly attached to this once unfamiliar city you now call a home away from home and the beautiful people (and accents) you encountered there. From reverse culture shock to the joys of rediscovering Netflix, we've been through it all, and we're pleased to present you with a compilation of exactly what it's like to return home after studying abroad. 

When you get off the plane and see your family for the first time in months: 

When you finally get home and are too tired and jet-lagged to do anything other than collapse on your bed, which is the single most glorious piece of furniture in existence:

When you eventually wake up the next day and get completely overwhelmed at the thought of having to unpack all of your suitcases:

When your family members start annoying you after only two days at home and you wonder why you ever missed them in the first place:

When you can only order water or soda at a restaurant even though you were legally allowed to drink while abroad:

How you respond when your friends ask if you hooked up with any hot foreign guys:

What actually happened when you met hot foreign guys: 

When you notice the glazed look in your friends' eyes and realize with horror that you're "that girl" who can't stop talking about all of the super cool things you did while abroad: 

When you tell someone you studied abroad in Spain and he or she immediately assumes you're fluent in the language:

When you try to pay for your coffee in euros instead of dollars:

When you finally get your hands on a good, old-fashioned American cheeseburger:

When people ask you about the politics of the country in which you studied abroad:

When you keep confusing your friends at home with your friends from abroad:

When you realize that your college's embarassing nightlife offerings just aren't going to cut it this year:

When you try to talk to your friends about your newly discovered appreciation for football soccer:

When you're shocked to discover that you're actually excited for cheap beer and dirty frat basements:

What you tell people when they ask what you did for fun while abroad:

What you actually did for fun while abroad:

When you Skype with your study abroad besties and confess that you haven't left your house since you got home:

When you catch yourself using foreign slang words in conversation with your American friends:

When your friends and family start talking about the season finales of all your favorite U.S. shows you haven't had a chance to catch up on yet:

When the initial flood of "likes" and comments on your study abroad albums on Facebook starts to dissipate:

When someone asks you how the food was in Italy:

And then when you look in the mirror and realize that months of carbo-loading and countless bar snacks have finally caught up with you:

When you're finally reunited with your one true love, Netflix:

When you've finally had your fill of American food, reality TV binges and reunions with your friends and family, and you catch yourself re-reading your study abroad blog and saying "cheers" when someone holds the door open, and you realize how much you miss your study abroad city: 

But then there's that moment when, somewhere down the line, you dust off your passport and board the plane that will take you back to the city in which you lived, laughed, learned, loved and made so many beautiful memories:

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