By Lizzy Hardy (The University of California, Santa Barbara, USA)
I’ve now been back at home for nine months, and I’m in my last semester of a degree that seems to have lasted forever. A lot has changed since I studied abroad at UCSB – I’ve moved in to a flat all by myself, I’ve got a place to study law next year, and I’ve got myself a part-time job at the International Programmes Office. My very final thing to wrap up my study abroad experience is to write this final blog about my reflections on coming back to Manchester after spending a year away. Here they are:
1. Reverse-culture shock is definitely a thing. You’ve been away, you’ve had the most amazing year of your life. But now, you are home. You have to return to normal. This is more difficult than I ever expected, but it does get easier. I found that talking to other study abroad students helps a lot. They will be experiencing the same things as you.
2. If you’ve been away for a year, you will now have a new cohort of fellow students. Try and take the opportunity to make new friends. They aren’t as scary as you might think.
3. Now you’ve been a tourist in a new place for 6 -12 months, you will see Manchester in a completely new light. Make the most of coming back! Do not see it as the end of something great, but the beginning of a new phase in your life. Try and see all those things in Manchester that you always promised you would.
4. Use what you learned abroad as a unique advantage. Most people in your degree will have learned very similar things and taken very similar modules. Not you. You’ve gone abroad and done something totally different. Make this work in your favour! Use the quirky course you took to give a different perspective on your dissertation, or visit the Careers Service and figure out how to use the time you spent abroad to improve your employability.
5. Stay in touch with people. Sometimes putting the effort in across time zones can be tricky, but it’ll be worth it. Plus, you’ll always have a couch to crash on if you ever go back.
That’s all for now.