Earlier this semester I attended the OklaHOME session. This is a chance for everyone who studied abroad to gather together and talk about their experiences, and their integration back into normality. It was very interesting to hear where everyone traveled. People experienced everywhere from Germany to South Korea. For me, I had the privilege to travel to OU in Arezzo.
My experience went relatively smoothly. I did not experience much culture shock, rather, I found myself missing the creature comforts that the U.S. had to offer. Things such as hot water, powerful air conditioning, and my comfortable bed, but the point of studying abroad is to experience new things. I believe other people missed those things also, but the people that went to destinations with less students from OU seemed to miss people from the same culture. It is fun and exciting to travel to somewhere new in the beginning, but after a while people begin to notice what they are missing. Although, after they cross that threshold everything runs smoothly, but once things begin to run smoothly it is time to leave.
When I arrived home I was beyond excited, but everything felt different. I was used to how things were in Italy, and was a little shocked by how out of it I was when I got home. After a while, I began getting back in the groove of things. This is the same experience as what happens abroad, but it is called reverse culture shock. Other people were saddened by leaving the adventurous fast paced lifestyle, but relax into their everyday life sooner or later. Studying abroad is a rewarding experience, but it comes with its fair share of hardships.