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Monday, June 15, 2015

Saying Goodbye to St Andrew

As some of you may remember, I spent the spring semester studying abroad at the University of St Andrews. I blogged all about it over here. Now that I've come home to the United States, I'm experiencing some culture shock. I chatted with several other friends who have studied abroad and we all agree that the culture shock returning home is much worse than the culture shock settling into your new country.

Why is that? Maybe it's because you don't expect it coming home. Maybe it's because you expect to feel out of place in another country, but not in the one you've lived in your whole life.

I've been here for several weeks, but I'm still struggling to settle back in. American money is strange. The time difference is baffling (I got used to being on the same time zone as my favorite YouTubers and theatre actors and friends from the UK). I find myself still phrasing things in the British way or using British words. My first night back, I couldn't remember how I set my pillows up on my bed--which I've been doing the same way since I was a little girl. This was the longest I've ever been out of the country, or even away from home. In many ways, I feel foreign in my homeland.

There's also the issue that everything feels so similar to how I left it but I feel so different. Studying abroad changed me in so many ways that it's unfathomable that nothing else here has changed. I feel out of sorts with my surroundings, because I feel like a different person coming back to them.

I was prepared for, and even excited about, the culture shock when I arrived in Scotland. But I wasn't prepared in any way for the experience of coming home. I'm glad to be home and to be reunited with my country...but I'm still waiting to feel at home in America.

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