Sunday, 30 July 2017

My Year Abroad: 2 Months On


I have been planning some sort of reflection post on my year abroad pretty much since it ended and I flew back to the UK. I am not the same girl that got on the plane back in September, nor am I the same girl that flew home two months ago. I went out to Germany with such big ideas, some of them I did and even surpassed, some of them I didn't manage despite my good intentions. Flying back to the UK I was so nervous and absolutely devastated to be leaving the life I had built for myself behind. In nine months I created strong friendships, bonds which I think will last a lifetime, whether we see each other often or not. I found myself surrounded by inspirational people who even now I think about fondly and remember how much I learned from them. I was terrified I wouldn't fit back in to "normal life" - let's face it though my life is never really normal, there's always something crazy going on. I had such hope for relationships and friendships, some of which have returned to normal and some of which need a little more time to adjust and others which have changed completely. It's hard to put into words quite how much I learned when I was away, the classic cliché, but I really did learn so much about myself which perhaps is showing through more and more the more time passes.

Counter culture shock is talked about quite a lot and is something which left me a little apprehensive before I came home. Little things, like the total confusion I felt when I walked into a restaurant and the whole menu was in English and I had to properly think before I ordered anything. Or the fact that whenever I was starting a conversation, I would almost say the phrase or sentence in German in my head before I said it out loud in English. As I live alone now, I wouldn't say my freedom feels any more restricted than when I was in Germany, however the novelty is wearing off and I am finding it harder and harder to make each day feel exciting and like I am learning something new unlike in Germany when every day brought a new challenge whether emotional or linguistic.

I've had a pretty busy week last week and it has definitely left me a little drained and a lot emotional. At one point, sitting on the edge of my bed I looked at the collection of photographs from last year I have pinned on to my wardrobe, I felt a little disappointed in myself. I came back to the UK feeling so strong, I felt like after moving to a different country and succeeding I was so determined and nothing could ever really be harder. I had done something which I honestly wasn't sure I would be able to do and yet there I was, doubting my self confidence and feeling a little beaten only two months later.

I'm not really sure what direction this post is going now, I started writing it on one day and am finishing it the next and editing it another day, so I feel like the direction has changed slightly whilst writing it. The memories of my year abroad are so vivid, yet it feels like such a long time ago as I have totally fallen back into the hum drum everyday life in the UK. I am fighting desperately to keep myself feeling as capable and proud as I did when I was there but it's quite hard when the settling back in process has been a little bumpy.

This Summer is a weird one, because although I am in St. Andrews I am obviously not studying yet and so have a job. It's my first time here over the Summer so I'm in a familiar place but it feels new. I am seeing a totally different side to the town, but having to remember that I will basically have to resettle back in when all the students return in September. Some of my friends are nearby, but not in a position to meet up and hang out every day, so it means that I still haven't spent that much time with some of my closest friends and it's strange. Like me, they have jobs, but being in a place where they normally make up so much of my experiences and daily life without them is taking a bit of time to get used to.

I guess the point of this post (aside from me basically throwing up words and feels in to the internet) is to say that two months on my year abroad is still inspiring me and although it's been difficult to settle back in, I think I am getting there.

XOXO





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10 comments

  1. This is really interesting to me. The longest I've ever been away from home is 3 weeks, and even though it didn't give me that much time to really improve my German, I felt so strange when I got off the plane. I felt like everyone speaking in English to me was unnatural at first. I'd like to spend more time there in the next couple of years, so reading this post was very good in making me aware of potential challenges. I hope that you get back into a happy rhythm of UK life soon!

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    1. I am so glad you found it interesting! Spending time in Germany has done absolute wonders for both my self confidence in speaking the language and actually picking up words and phrases so I can only 100% recommend it if you are learning German. I hope you get to spend time there, it's a beautiful country! Thank you so much for reading! xx

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  2. I think living abroad can be really exciting! I hope you make the most out of it! Good luck.
    Have an awesome day,
    xx Kris

    https://dreamingofpink.wordpress.com

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    1. I definitely did make the most of it, I travelled so much and met some amazing people it was great! :)

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  3. When I got home after a semester abroad I find it so hard. I missed living in a shared flat and discover new things every weeks !
    https://afrenchgirlsthoughts.blogspot.fr

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  4. I didn't study abroad for a year, but I did study abroad 3 separate times (two summers and one fall semester). I know how weird it is to come back. It's so different when you come back from abroad because you've become so used to the new culture and hearing the new language that going back is really a shock! On top of this, you learn so much about yourself when you're abroad and when you come back, you forget that your life before you left has moved on. It's a transitional process!

    -GG
    www.girlingamba.com

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment! It's so nice to hear that other people feel like that at some point!! xx

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  5. Counter culture shock is something I'd never heard of before but now you've put it into words I can see exactly what you mean! I've just moved home to a small seaside town after living in London for uni for the last three years and although not quite as different as I imagine Germany was it has still taken some getting used too! I hope things settle down more once term re-starts!
    Tara xo
    http://taradaniella.com/

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    1. I bet it has, it always takes time for my to settle in to new places anyway! Hope you have a lovely Summer back at home! x

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