The Struggles of Returning from Study Abroad

You could say coming back from studying abroad isn’t the easiest thing… and that’s putting it lightly. Studying abroad was hands down the most amazing experience I have had in my 21 years. I know this seems dramatic, but how can you top traveling to a different country every weekend, eating everything in sight, and living in a foreign country for four months? You just can’t. Period. End of story. So no doubt coming back from abroad comes with its fair share of struggles, and I mean STRUGGLES!

  1. When you realize you actually have to be a real student again.

One of the many perks of abroad is that although it’s called studying abroad there really isn’t much studying involved. Classes typically meet one day a week and all you have to do is pass them.

  1. You find yourself saying “when I was abroad” far too often.

After you come back from studying abroad, all you do is talk about studying abroad, and let me just tell you… everyone else wants to kill you. When every sentence starts with “Oh when I was in Florence,” or “Do you remember that one tim in Barcelona?” people are going to start to get quite annoyed, so you might find yourself having to tone down some of those reminiscent remarks.

  1. When you realize you can’t legally drink anymore.

One of the great things about studying abroad is there is virtually no drinking age. But what really sucks is coming back to America and realizing you can’t legally drink (not a problem for me TG). Insert sad face staring at all the wine you can’t buy.

  1. Not waking up in a different city every weekend.

Asking the question “where do you want to go this weekend?” is no longer in reference to what country but most likely about what bar. Admittedly,  answering “The KK” or “Whiskey Jacks” is not nearly as fun as saying “Spain, Prague, or Greece”. Don’t get me wrong, I love Madison, but there is something about being able to hop on an hour-long plane ride and ending up in a different country.

  1. When your lectures don’t involve weekly class field trips.

Trust me, time moves a whole lot slower when you have to sit in a lecture instead of walking around Florence for “class.”

  1. When flights cost more than you spent in a month abroad.

Yes, 12 Euro flights were actually a thing, and, yes, paying upwards of 500 dollars to just go home for Thanksgiving sucks.  Flights from country to country were usually the cheapest part of your weekend, which made traveling that much easier.

  1. Saying thank you to a cashier in a totally different language.

So I guess saying “Grazie” is no longer an acceptable thing to do based on the blank “what the f***” stares I have gotten from the cashier.  


After spending four months in a foreign country with literally no rules, and I mean none, no worries, and no expectations, readjusting to America is definitely not the easiest thing to do. Although I love being back home, it’s come with it’s fair share of struggles.