Studying abroad is a common thing for college students, and why not with so many program options available? But while students are aware of the culture differences before they head to another country, their reactions to returning home may be a bit of a shock as well.
Even if you went to a place like London, which shares the same language and weather with Binghamton, you may find returning to America difficult. In fact, Binghamton University’s website deals with how to tackle this problem.
“You may find it difficult to get used to being home, and you may even need to adjust to things that should seem familiar,” the website reads. “You might feel nostalgic about aspects of your adopted culture abroad, and you may miss friends you made during your program.”
Kristen Grennan, the peer adviser coordinator in the study abroad office, said a reverse culture shock is quite common.
“A lot of times students want to talk about studying abroad when they come back and there isn’t an outlet for them to do it, which is why most of them choose to start peer advising,” Grennan said. “It’s hard when kids come back because everything about being abroad is important to you, but not to everyone else.”
Rachel Passer, a senior majoring in geography, studied abroad last spring in Paris and she said she felt she definitely grew as a person.
“I’m definitely more independent-minded, careful about my money and much more of a skeptic,” Passer said. “As much as studying abroad was a blast, it makes you grow up a little and appreciate and/or be more critical of the conveniences in the U.S.”
Natasha Bobrowski-Khoury, a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience, went to study abroad in England for a semester during her junior year but ended up staying an entire year.
“I definitely don’t feel the same way as when I first stepped onto campus as a freshman,” she said.
But coming back to Binghamton, Bobrowski-Khoury found that her vernacular did change a bit.
“I used to speak in a funny British/American accent with certain words and phrases, but that has subsided,” she said. “I also got very used to walking around people on the left side instead of the right, but now that I have been back home for a year, I no longer do that.”
Morgan Denehy, a senior majoring in Arabic, studied in Egypt last semester and said he was quite affected by his experiences.
“Coming home was really tough for me, just because I was in Egypt,” Denehy said. “I’m happy for all my friends in Egypt because of what has been happening lately, but honestly I wish I was still there.”