Surviving the Post-Abroad Blues
by Brianne De La Ossa
I have an ailment and figuring out the cure has been eating at me these past few months. It’s something many Chapman students who have studied abroad come back with and unfortunately, it can take a long time to cure, if at all.
It’s called the post-abroad blues. And I have it bad.
It’s that feeling as soon as you come back from completing a semester abroad that things just aren’t as exciting at home as they are in whatever country you spent the last few months in. Although I do love my life here in the U.S., I love my friends, and most of the time, I love being at Chapman, there is something that doesn’t measure up to being abroad.
When I was studying in Florence, I didn’t mind making the mile trek to class because every time I stepped out of my apartment and onto the cobblestone streets, there was always something to see, something delicious to smell and someone new to meet. Whether it was two old men bickering in the street in rapid Italian or watching the fisherman deliver the morning’s catch to the restaurant around the corner, there was something to keep my senses wild as I walked to class. Now when I bike to class, I feel like the most exciting thing I see is the traffic guard sitting on the corner, yelling at the car who went against her traffic sign. While abroad, I was constantly pushed out of my comfort zone and it was something that excited me. When I got home, all I could think of was how I was back to being stuck in a mundane, stagnant life, where nothing new or exciting ever happened to me.
I think what thrilled me about my adventures in Italy were that I was able to travel and live my life without having to think about responsibilities. While at Chapman, I am usually working a job, going to school full time and trying to be apart of all these organizations on campus. I am constantly looking for my next internship, constantly planning and worrying, constantly feeling stressed and always behind. While abroad, I had very few cares in the world. I could wake up in the morning and the day was mine to explore whatever city I was in.
Although that experience was amazing and something I will never forget, I have realized something. It’s taken a few months but I think I have figured out how to conquer my post-abroad blues. I think adventure is everywhere if you really take the time to notice it. Whether it’s taking a new path on my walk to school, discovering a new part of the city I live in, going somewhere new to eat, or getting in my car without my GPS and just getting lost, I think adventure is around me.
We may go to a small school, but that doesn’t mean I know everyone here. There are plenty of opportunities for me to make new friends, try new things, and see new places-I just have to chase it a little more. And who knows, maybe if I actually stopped to chat with that traffic guard on the corner, she might have something really great to say.