The reverse culture shock didn’t set in until I was back at school in Boston. I spent the summer at home in Orlando, Florida, enamored by everything I missed about America while I was abroad. Things like home cooked meals, free refills, my friends, my family, theme parks, all filled me with an enormous amount of joy for three months. It felt like leaving America only made me love it more. Of course it would creep in sometimes at night. The reverse culture shock would rear its head whenever I would get lost in my camera roll. It would show itself when I found myself saying “Well I learned this in Europe…” But most of the time I was able to shake it off and go back to my life in America. I was beginning to think that I was able to make the transition back home unscathed.
Looking back on the summer now I realize that those three months were simply a honeymoon period. Now that I’m back at school in Boston, it’s harder to go a single day without thinking about my life back in Cork. I go to school in a big city, a city that I’ve been obsessed with since I was in 6th grade. It is hard to be bored here and keeping busy is the best combatant against reverse culture shock. The best way I’ve fought agains
t the constant post-Ireland depression is to write about it, talk about it with friends, or simply look at pictures. But it seems any time I have down time, I find myself daydreaming about Ireland. As I trudge back and forth between work and school every day, my mind wanders to the adventurous, exciting days I had in Europe. Flashes of green mountains, countless numbers of pubs, bright houses, and Sunday night dinners with my study abroad friends fill my mind whenever I let myself think about Cork.
I would say the greatest part of studying abroad is that everything is new. You’re in a new country, new school, surrounded by new people. Sure, this causes a bit of anxiety, but it also provides you with the opportunity of endless exploration. Every weekend I would spend on a bus touring Ireland or on a plane off to some other European country. Every day I was learning something new, whether it’d be through my classes at University College Cork or through travelling. So coming back to a place you’ve lived in for three years now, attending your third year at school, you lose that excited sense of curiosity. It’s easy to let your life become monotonous. I constantly find myself comparing my life here in Boston to what it was abroad. Both great, but one I still live every day and I’m left to relive the other one through pictures and memories.