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Isn’t it funny how you return from studying abroad, and think about how you will never adjust to the familiar groove back on campus? Abroad encompassed SO many experiences, new places, new friends, and insightful lessons about yourself. How will you ever forget about the adventures that have shaped you into this person you are today? In my own experience, some of those adventures sadly started to fade into the usual life on campus.

This may just be a personal thought that I solely hold, but I sometimes feel hesitant when speaking about my abroad experience because of the ongoing trend of judging college women who express their love for studying in a different place for months or years. There are plenty of memes, videos, and posts about how you don’t want to be THAT girl rambling about travelling, food, and different cultures. I’m not saying that I haven’t laughed at these posts or haven’t experienced people talking WAY too much about their own study abroad experience, but I find it all too common witnessing peers hushing others about their abroad experience instead of opening their ears and minds to listen. I absolutely love listening to others recount their experiences that have undoubtedly changed them for the better. I love hearing about that time my friends almost missed their plane because they were busy making the most out of an amazing foreign city. I want to hear about how someone’s car broke down in the middle of nowhere. I want to learn about why someone chose to leap into a nerve-wracking, fun, and inspiring adventure at such a crucial age in their lives.

A grace period occurs when individuals come back from abroad. They can talk about the time they were away, but after a couple of days back at college, routine takes over. Yes, I’ve stopped talking about New Zealand as much as I did when I arrived back in the States this past summer (my family got the brunt of my non-stop chatter about kiwi culture). However, I really try to fight routine by remembering who I was over 9,000 miles away. When I’m so caught up with the way of life back at school, the happy moments from my time away bring an immense amount of comfort. So, even though you may have to limit the number of stories you tell (nobody really wants to hear every detail about a meal you experienced, no matter how amazing it was), try to remember those lessons and memories abroad gifted you whenever routine starts to take over.

Catie Spaulding is a 2019 Bates College graduate. In her free time, she enjoys singing the wrong lyrics to almost every song imaginable, contemplating big and small life questions with anyone around her, and debating what flavor ice cream to pick up on the next grocery run.
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