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David Smith

Post-Study Abroad

by David Smith Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Bonjour!

It has been a while since I've checked in. During the crunch time of my finals stretch in Paris, I accidentally dumped a glass of water on my computer. This kicked off a constant level of mild-to-intense chaos in my life that has just started to recede. After returning to America I started an internship in Middleton. I finally got a new computer last week, so now I am able to function in the 21st century again. It's kind of crazy how much your life screeches to a halt when you lose access to your computer in a foreign country.

Returning to America was interesting. It initially felt a little weird to set foot in the O'Hare airport. It was a bit unusual to hear English everywhere instead of French, but that feeling didn’t last more than a couple hours. The one thing that has stuck with me is the priority that cars have here. In Paris, it was expected to cut in front of cars and just keep walking. If you do that too many times in Madison, the cars might not stop. I can definitely say that my time abroad made me a more aggressive jay-walker.

Reflecting on abroad isn't too hard because everyone keeps asking about it. Did I have fun? Yes. What was the best place I went? Malta was pretty nifty. Do I feel like I changed at all? I feel like I became more aligned with myself.

Becoming more aligned with myself is probably the theme of my abroad experience. Spending an extended time away from my friend/familiarity network forced me to solve problems on my own. I also found that it caused me to start making new familiarity networks over there. It’s weird – now I share a bunch of really specific memories with a few people who are spread thinly across the nation. I wonder where we’ll all end up!

The end of studying abroad felt sudden and unceremonious. My friends left gradually, then eventually I was the one that left. It’s weird; Tuesday you’re over in France doing anything, Thursday you’re back on the Terrace.

The Terrace is pretty cool though.

Au revoir!

David

P.S.

My roommates for next year all went abroad on different programs in different countries. Once they get back to the states, I’m going to write up a post comparing and contrasting our experiences. Hopefully this can help you decide what type of abroad experience you want for yourself!