Advertising
Advertising

The 6 Stages You Go Through After Returning From Study Abroad

The 6 Stages You Go Through After Returning From Study Abroad

Even before I’d decided to study abroad this summer, I knew what I was getting myself into. All my friends had enrolled in semester-long study abroad programs in countries ranging from England and France to Thailand and Japan before me; and I’d watched all of them return the same way – upset, wistful, and of course, seeking comfort by swapping stories with other friends who’d studied abroad.

At first though, I didn’t get it. I scoffed at them, rolling my eyes whenever someone mentioned how something wasn’t “the same” as it was where they’d been. “There’s got to be something here that’s at least similar,” I would say, but to no avail. They were convinced otherwise.

It wasn’t until I returned from London that I finally understood what they were saying. Coming back, nothing felt the same. Even Angry Orchard couldn’t satisfy my cider ale cravings quite like a Koppalberg could. I apologized to my closest friends who I’d openly mocked, confessing they were right. I was wrong. Studying abroad had taken its toll.

Now, before I go into the six stages I, and most everyone who’s studied abroad, went through after returning, I want to say that this is not by any means meant to discourage anyone from studying abroad. I think, if anything, the feelings I went through after were telling of how incredible the experience was; and it was the experience of a lifetime. So don’t think it’s all bad because it’s not – that’s only the nostalgia you feel afterward, you know, in addition to other things.

Here are the six emotional stages you will likely go through after returning from study abroad.

Advertising

1.  The Initial Shock Stage

koala_shock_funny

    This first hit me when I’d arrived in the boarding area for my flight going back to California. After a nightmarish morning involving a high-priced taxi, its sailor-mouthed driver, and several road closures, I’d practically collapsed into the nearest vacant seat I could find. Even in my exhaustion and relief, this stage came in one big wave as I looked out the window to the rainy day outside and realized it was really over. I was returning home.

    For most of my friends though, this stage came later on when they arrived back home. We all underestimate it, but returning to a familiar place after adjusting to a foreign one is surprisingly pretty difficult. It’s almost like picking up a sport after years of being out of practice. You know the movements and techniques, but it feels different the second time around. That’s when you realize it’s because you’re different, which leads me to my second point.

    2. The Depression Stage

    18022-1280x720

      Unlike many of my friends, this stage came full-force when I boarded the plane heading back to LAX. I must have looked as pathetic as I felt to the couple seated in my row. Sitting in the window seat, I pouted and sighed the entire flight over in between gulps of sparkling wine and non-stop scrolling through 900 pictures worth of trip memories. Yeah, it was pretty dramatic.

      Advertising

      The next week following my return proved to be just as much, too. I felt like crying even at the mention of London, and actually did on some occasions. Considering it was my first time ever traveling outside the country, I guess I should have expected the intense reaction.  After all, it was a huge cultural shock, but one I’d come to love.

      For those who’ve studied abroad, the hardest part about coming back is going through the depression stage. I mean, think about it, if you were in a completely new country exploring the area and going on adventures almost every day, you’d be depressed too to come back to the same old place and things you’ve been doing you’re entire life. Maybe I’m just spoiled, but that’s the way I see it.  However, while I’ll say this stage is the hardest for those who have studied abroad, I think the next stage is the hardest for those who have to be around you. Mom and Dad, take this as my formal apology for the following stage on this list.

      3. The Tantrum Stage (a.k.a I Hate Everything Stage)

      angry-cat-fuuny

        Oh boy is this one scary. For a while following the Depression Stage, I went through an anger phase, crossing my arms and turning my nose to anything and everything Californian. Even talking to people who expressed a love of the area was followed by an inner-scoff and immediate disinterest. It was snooty, yes, but I couldn’t help it. All I wanted to do was be back in London; and believe me, it showed.

        My poor parents tried on several occasions to remind me how fortunate I was to live in the area we lived in. My mom even went to the extent of trying to find London-specific things nearby, but her efforts were only met with my tantrum-like response of “it’s not the same!” The thing is though, after a while of feeling angry over the fact nothing is and will ever be the same, you start to get sick of having such a pessimistic mindset. That’s when I finally took my mom’s offer of searching for London-like things near home, which only brought me into the next stage.

        Advertising

        4. The Substitution Stage

        tumblr_m29xcjzIar1rsrt14o1_500

          Expect to do a lot of research when this stage hits. For about a good week to two weeks time, I went on a near manhunt for anything closely resembling food, activities, or places I’d found in London. I think at one point I spent about two hours on the internet searching for local pubs and stores selling any and all England-specific products. The inner investigator in me had finally surfaced.

          Anywhere I went soon turned into a scavenger hunt. Copious amounts of cheese, baguette bread, cider ale, prosecco, and Indian food were purchased in addition to watching several hours worth of Tudors. And for a time there, I was content with the replacements. They made me feel as though I was still back in London, minus the brownstone buildings and pretty much everything else. However, like all transitional stages, this one soon came to a close when I came to the realization that nothing could replace my experience in London. It was true. Nothing would be the same.

          5. The Realization Stage

          cute-animals-little-turtle-looking-out-window-pics

            You could say this stage is almost a lapse back into the Depression Stage, but followed more so by the fact you’ve come to terms with the idea nothing will be the same where you are as it was when you were abroad. The realization stage came suddenly when a friend from my trip sent me a Snapchat of her drinking a Thistly Cross (a cider beer we all tried while visiting Edinburgh) at a bonfire in her hometown. Seeing the picture took me back to that moment when my study abroad course classmates and I were doing the same thing, but together; and that’s when I realized the substitutions could never replace the original. That’s also when I realized I didn’t want to replace the original, which quickly led me into the sixth and final stage of my return back from study abroad.

            Advertising

            6. The Acceptance Stage

            lion-t1

              It was a long and difficult process to get to this stage, but I’d finally reached it. After weeks of depression, anger, endless searches to find bits of London in the whole of California, and tears, lots of them, I’d accepted the fact that what I experienced there could not be found here; and I was okay with that.

              There’s a certain magic you experience somewhere or at some time or with someone that can’t be relived again, or at least will be different the second time around. The best example I can think of, is that it’s like going to Disneyland as an adult when the last time you went was as a kid. When you’re young, you see things differently. Everything seems brighter, more wonderous, and way more enchanting than it does when you’re older. As an adult, I can say I think I prefer my child-like vision of Disneyland to the Disneyland I visited several months ago.

              But when you come to this stage, you also come to understand something about studying abroad you didn’t fully recognize before – it’s meant to be temporary, and that’s what makes it so special. It’s in our human nature to make the most of an experience when we know it has an expiration date on it; and that’s exactly what I, and all my study abroad friends, did. We made the most out of the time we were given.

              Will I do something similar to it again? I don’t know, but what I do know is that nothing can replace the things, the place, and of course the people I met while abroad. Like I said earlier, it was the experience of a lifetime, but I realize I have many more ahead of me.  After all, I’m still pretty young, and it’s safe to say the bright-eyed kid in me isn’t done growing up just yet.

              Featured photo credit: … via flickr.com

              More by this author

              You Should Never Say These Six Things If You Want To Be Successful At Work The Power And Pitfalls Of Complete Vulnerability 5 Ways to Prepare for Success During Your Senior Year Of College 20 Things Only Children Understand Everyone Makes Mistakes, This Is How You Can Love and Forgive Yourself

              Trending in Leisure

              1 How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World After 40 2 The 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are 3 25 Truly Amazing Places To Visit Before You Die 4 30 Fun Things to Do at Home 5 10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day

              Read Next

              Advertising
              Advertising

              Last Updated on October 30, 2018

              How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

              How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

              What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

              To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

              All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

              There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

              With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

              What follows is a list of thirteen of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these 13 tips are essential:

              1.Think big.

                From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

                “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

                There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

                Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

                Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

                Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
                Instead be ambitious.

                2.Find what you love to do and do it.

                  From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                  “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                  This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                  Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                  If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                  Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                  Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                  Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                  3. Learn how to balance life.

                  Advertising

                    From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                    “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                    All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                    If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                    However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                    If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                    In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                    To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                    4. Do not be afraid of failure.

                      From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                      “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                      There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                      Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                      His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                      He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                      Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                      Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                      5. Have an unwavering resolution to succeed.

                        From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                        “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                        This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                        It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

                        If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

                        Advertising

                        Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                        6. Be a person of action.

                          From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                          “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                          Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                          Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                          When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renissance era Italy, we think of Michaelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci.

                          Or think about the present day:

                          Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                          You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                          All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                          Applying this to you?

                          Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                          7. Avoid conflicts.

                            From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                            The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                            The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                            People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                            This is key to good leadership.

                            It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                            But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                            What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                            As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                            Advertising

                            8. Don’t be afraid of introducing new ideas.

                              From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                              “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                              It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                              Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                              If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                              9. Believe in your capacity to succeed.

                                From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                                “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                                Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                                It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                                Keep dreaming!

                                10. Always maintain a positive mental attitude.

                                  From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                  “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                  Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                  Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                  If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                  However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                  11. Don’t let discouragement stop you from pressing on.

                                    From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                    “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                    It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                                    Advertising

                                    When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

                                    Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                    If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                    Take a look at these 5 Ways to Stop Self Doubt in its Tracks.

                                    12. Be willing to work hard.

                                      From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                      “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                      You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                      Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                      True success comes from work.

                                      You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                      Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                      13. Be brave enough to follow your intuition.

                                        From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                        “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                        In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                        If you strongly believe and desire something, the chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                        It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                        Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                        Final thoughts

                                        What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                        Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this:

                                        How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                        More Recommended Lifehack Experts in Success

                                        • Mandie Holgate — Successful life coach in the UK, helping businesses and individuals achieve greatness
                                        • David Carpenter — Lifelong entrepreneur and business owner helping others to realize the American Dream of business ownership
                                        • Ray Zinn — An inventor, entrepreneur, bestselling author and the longest serving CEO in Silicon Valley

                                        Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

                                        Read Next