This past fall quarter I studied abroad in Florence, Italy and it was one of the greatest experiences of my entire life. Before I left, I promised myself I wouldn’t turn into one of those people that constantly talks about and compares time abroad to life here.
But alas, the stereotype is real and I talk and think about this past quarter almost every day. It is not like I am unhappy to be back in Davis. In fact, it is just the opposite. I love Davis; I always have, and coming back here holds some comfort after my difficulty accepting the fact that I was leaving Europe.
The initial shock of coming back was hard to cope with. I was overwhelmed by all the changes and I kept comparing my crowded bus ride to campus to my relaxing walks to school in Florence along the river in the mornings.
I also struggled with seeing people again. Don’t get me wrong — I missed everyone here and was extremely excited to see them, I just had no idea how to explain the incredible months I had in a few short sentences. I felt caught between catching up with people I hadn’t seen and maintaining the important relationships with the people I had met and became close to abroad.
These past few weeks back have been full of adjustments and a return to my Davis student routine. I love being a Davis student and I love that my previous Davis-student identity has grown to include a new world perspective and connection to another school and place in a different country.
While it is still hard to accept that my time studying abroad is over, I feel both extremely lucky to have gotten the opportunity and grateful for my decision to attend Davis. Getting to travel and study in another place expanded my world and opened me up to new opportunities, people, and pieces of myself.
I also realized how much I love Davis after coming back because I felt comfortable returning to my life here. I know it sounds really cliché, but so many feelings and experiences that you gain abroad and in college are clichés.
Coming back to Davis after studying abroad has taught me a lot about balance and what I want to prioritize in my life. I now know how important traveling is to me and how to make and keep connections to places and people I want to keep with me always.
While I do miss one-euro cappuccinos and gelato, I can still love and appreciate a cup of Coho coffee and the feeling of being an Aggie.
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