13 Reasons Why It's Great to Go Home After a Semester Abroad

Monday, July 21, 2014


Aaand here I am, typing this post in my mom's kitchen and being the happiest in a while! Of course, it was nice when I used to come back home on occasional weekends while studying in Belgrade, but sometimes I would do that because I felt like I should. Now, however, I really count the days and feel happy to do so! So why is it good to go home?

1. You've probably learned this over years, but if you haven't, here comes the ultimate wisdom for free: there are no people in this world who love you more than your parents do. It's not a phrase, it really is so. If they haven't seen you in a while, they probably miss you. A lot. They probably also wonder, from time to time (or all the time!), how you're doing out there all alone. Did you have your breakfast? Did you carry your umbrella with you? Did you buy an appropriate winter coat? Are you doing well in school (or at work)? And now you're coming home. They don't have to worry for couple of weeks, and get to spend time with you. Finally! (Seriously, my dad asked me yesterday, his 25-year-old daughter, if I eat regularly.)

2. Spending time with your siblings. My sister is one of the smartest kids her age I know (21!!), and I'm looking forward to seeing her, at least for a bit. Her schedule is quite packed, at the moment's she's attending a summer school on... well, something stars-and-space related (she studies astrophysics), and after that she's going to Czech Republic to do a summer internship. Little smartass :)

3. Mom's meals. No words needed.

4. And dad's barbecue.

5. Your old room! Look, Harry Potter books! Ohhh, the cute souvenirs from that trip eight years ago! Has it really been that long?! Aaaw, high school photos. And posters! And clothes you forgot you had! Stepping into your old room seems and feels both like stepping to the old and cosy on one hand, and to the pre-life on the other!

6. Your favorite coffee shop. Yes, you might have discovered some amazing new flavors abroad, and interesting places as well, but there's this one cafe in your town where you've been going for years. It may not be the best, but it's a habit. Tradition. Something close to your heart.

7. No need to use Google Maps - not one single time! You know the streets, the buildings and the shortcuts as if they're carved in your DNA. You also know the quickest way to get from point A to point B. And you're so happy when you realise that you remember all the public transport lines you used to use long ago - whether it were the ones you used on a daily basis, or the ones you only used to get to that store on the other side of the town twice.

8. Old friends. Finally they're not people who live in your computer and smartphone anymore - they're living creatures, and they're so ready to take you out and remind you of what it looked like before.

9. The language! OK it's embarrassing to admit this one, but even though I feel my English has improved tons since I first moved abroad last September, back home I don't have to think about tense agreement for a moment - or what the word was for that thing that I use like... never. I just open my mouth and talk. Not to mention the relief when you know you can actually ask for help if you need it - in a store, on the street - no obstacles because your German is broken, and their English is non-existent.

10. If you're a driver, you can drive a car after a long time. I wouldn't know about it, but looking at my bestie driving after a year in China, I'd say it's a form of genuine happiness.

11. All the foodies you couldn't buy abroad. In my case: liquid yoghurt! Why don't people in the EU know yoghurt is meant for drinking?

12. Knowing taxi numbers by heart. And actually using taxi because it's not crazy expensive.

13. YouTube videos that are actually available in your country. (If you're a German reading this, I apologize, this doesn't apply to you!) Illegally downloading movies. (We all do that, right?)

Of course, there is also the other side of the medal - the reverse culture shock. That can be hard to deal with, or at least surprising. But if you concentrate on the nice things and people you've missed, being back home can be amazing. Enjoy it!



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