Have you recently found yourself home from a study abroad trip but not sure what to do with yourself? Maybe you experienced culture shock when you first arrived at your destination but now coming home doesn’t feel quite natural anymore, either. From one traveler to another, I experienced this too! Maybe you are thinking “Now that I’m home, I need to unload my suitcase and my feelings.” Which is why I have come up with a few ways to unpack your trip and process what’s on your mind.
Culture Shock Therapy
Okay so maybe this was a bad pun, but seriously, coming home from a long trip abroad can almost be a culture shock all over again, but this time unexpected! It’s okay (and normal even), to feel a little out of sorts when you first get back. Honestly, it might be some jet lag. Some people need to have their comfort food, like visiting their favorite burger joint, as soon as they get back to the States, but sometimes you have to ease into it. Remind yourself of the fun things around you or best places to eat. Spend time with friends you haven’t had the chance to see during your time away. Get reacquainted with the space you call home. Refresh yourself by wearing clothes you feel most comfortable in. And just for good measure, rest and drink lots of water to regain some clarity of mind. Consider ways your time abroad has shaped you and how it will impact the way you navigate through the world going forward.
Even in our digital era, counselors and medical professionals will still recommend having a journal and physically writing out thoughts or feelings to process what you’re experiencing. It doesn’t have to be cute and organized, because sometimes that’s just not how our brains work! Write out favorite memories, compare cultures, and express emotions. This is for you, and only you, unless you should choose to share it! Thoughts and feelings can get messy but something about the practice of writing it out can be cathartic and provide a sense of closure.
Fresh off the study abroad high? I highly recommend a presentation night! This is a fantastic way to bring friends or family together, hand out souvenirs, and showcase some pictures and highlights from your trip. I also find this helpful for those who get tired of telling the same stories over and over when inevitably everyone asks “So how was your trip?.” You can get creative with the form of presentation but even a simple slideshow will do!
Maybe it’s months after your return home, and you are still feeling off or worried you talk about the trip too much. First of all, you will have just taken a trip with Millennium Tours abroad, so of course you’re going to have some fantastic stories to share! But maybe it’s time to consider the deeper impact studying abroad had on you. Do you crave going back and visiting what became your second home? Or do you have a desire to explore more of the world? Maybe consider going into a career that will require traveling abroad or allow you to work remote and travel in your free time. There is so much of the world to explore! Practice gratitude for the trip you just experienced and look forward to your adventures to come, whether local or abroad.