Coming Home – Why Was it So Hard?
My Abroad ExperienceI had the wonderful opportunity of studying in Belfast, Northern Ireland at Queen’s University with IFSA-Butler during the spring of 2016. During my abroad experience, I made many new friends who were locals, and adjusted to a new lifestyle. Being a military kid, I was very used to moving around the United States and adapting to new places I’d never seen before, so the initial adjustment into the Northern Irish life wasn’t too difficult. I adapted to a city lifestyle very quickly and successfully maintained a weekly routine for my academics and my traveling schedule. Overall, my abroad experience was one that I genuinely enjoyed, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Coming HomeHowever, the biggest problem I had with my study abroad experience was coming home. I specifically remember the day I got to the Belfast International Airport to fly home. I was extremely excited and couldn’t wait to see my friends and family, whom I hadn’t seen in five and a half months. To add even more excitement to the story, I wasn’t even going “home.” My family moved across the United States from Colorado Springs, CO all the way to Fort Knox, KY in the middle of my semester abroad. So I was flying home from Northern Ireland to another unfamiliar place. Growing up completely used to moving all the time and adjusting to new places, I was excited to live in a new state with my family for a month over the summer before I prepared to go back to college in North Carolina. However, it did not take me long to realize how different Northern Ireland and Fort Knox, KY were.
Two completely different cultures in 24 hoursWhen I finally arrived in Kentucky after a long day of traveling, I remember laying in my bed thinking of all the things I can’t do anymore now that I’m home. I couldn’t go to the student union and get my favorite meal deal for lunch, I couldn’t go to the local pub down the road from my accommodation after classes with friends and order a pint of Guinness, I couldn’t go for a relaxing jog through the Botanical Gardens parallel to the University. I compiled a seemingly never-ending list of things I could no longer do now that I was home.
For some reason, this move from Northern Ireland to Kentucky was the hardest adjustment I’ve ever experienced—even after moving 12 times growing up in a military family.Why was I so down? Why could I not describe what I was feeling? Why was this move in particular so hard to deal with?