Friday, June 8, 2012
Business Badgers Abroad Blog
I thought I would be ready to come home after the majority of the other students in my program had left - I stayed in Europe a couple weeks later than most of the Wisconsin students on the program. After spending a weekend with my cousin who is studying and Prague and doing a tour of Italy with my mom, I was feeling the itch to return to America and see my friends, but spending one last night in a hotel near Heathrow airport made me yearn for more time in England.
It was very hard to say goodbye to one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in college. After four months in Europe, I genuinely felt like London was home. I was confident with getting around and directions, the customs and culture, the food, and even looking to the right before I crossed the street. I didn’t want to say goodbye to the little, seemingly insignificant things that I knew my friends back home wouldn’t understand, such as my newfound love for digestive biscuits with coffee (sweet biscuits eaten with coffee or tea) or watching British auction shows (which are insanely popular in the UK).
The hardest part about being back is trying to summarize my past four months into a three-minute conversation. Answering “How was London?” is a dreaded question because I have no way to capture the experience in words. Saying it was amazing or I had such a great time doesn’t seem to portray everything I did while overseas. Answering “What was your favorite trip?” is also a tricky question. Everywhere I traveled had a unique reason for being wonderful, such as Budapest because of the amazing architecture, Nice since it is my new dream vacation spot, Munich just because of the great atmosphere, or Venice because of its beauty. Usually the easy thing to say is that I had an absolutely fantastic semester, but it’s also good to be home.
And I do mean that, it is very great to be home. Although I felt like London was my home for the past four months, I have found it so easy to adjust back to life in Madison. I did not realize how much I missed being here, but it has been great to just kick my feet up at my house and watch movies with my roommates while slowly telling them about my overseas experiences as things came to mind. With it being finals week on campus, it has been hard to find time to meet up with friends, which has been actually been nice. It’s allowed me to settle back into my life in Madison without feeling too overwhelmed to see everyone.
Right now, I am very excited to be back, but I’m sure in a few weeks, this will fade and I’ll start to feel very homesick for my life in London. Being abroad was so gratifying and has given me a great perspective about life outside of the UW Campus. Along with the amazing things I have seen, I most definitely have grown as an individual. I am more independent and a better problem-solver. I also have become more open-minded and patient. I know that these intangible traits will be very applicable to my everyday life.
I am so thankful for the experiences provided through the Wisconsin School of Business International Programs. Although it was difficult at times to be away from the wonderful city of Madison, I would make the same decision to study abroad in a heartbeat. And if the experiences I had abroad weren’t enough to make it worth it, the joy I am getting from watching my friends study for finals when I’m already done with the semester is pretty satisfying too.