A few months ago, when I was on my way to the Philadelphia airport to go to Spain, I hadn’t even arrived at the airport and saw a plane that looked like it was about to crash. This plane was flying backwards, sideways, and in all sorts of crazy directions. As my family and I got closer, we realized it was a model plane. Luckily, it was not an omen. This time around, I didn’t have any crazy experiences before boarding the plane. As a matter of fact, things felt more routine the second time around. I actually slept on the plane ride!
This is something I have been thinking about since the end of last semester. I am going into study abroad already having done it for a semester. I probably won’t be going through the same feelings that other people in my program will be. Yes, I will be meeting many new people and having new experiences, but I won’t have that same nervous feeling of the unknown that I had when I arrived in Spain. I know what it will be like to be away from family and friends for months at a time. I know what it is like trying to communicate in a language that is not your first language. I know what it is like to live in a homestay and be able to travel outside of my program. Even so, I think I am more excited for this semester because I am coming in with a confidence I did not have in the Fall.
I did experience reverse culture shock when I was home, even though I was only home for a couple weeks. My first experience: Forgetting to tip in a restaurant, which I was reminded to do. You do not tip in Spain. My second experience: Uggs…everywhere. I stepped out of the car in the mall parking lot and everyone was wearing Uggs. I even saw an Uggs and sweatpants combination, which I never saw in Spain. It was weirder than it sounds.
Unlike in Spain, I got to go straight home and meet my host family: a couple in their 60s. I get to stay in a big house instead of an apartment and the family I live with seems super nice. I am excited for the semester!
Check out the first French video of many this semester! Like always, there are English subtitles!