The First Time You Return To Your Study Abroad City, These 4 Wonderful Things Happen
How long has it been since the semester you studied abroad? Let me guess: It feels like forever. On the one hand, you can't believe that so much time has passed since you touched back down at the airport after living in another country for four or five months. On the other hand, it seems like just yesterday you were packing your bags, not knowing what to expect from your travels. You boarded the plane with so much excitement and nervous energy, knowing that this would be the best experience ever. The first time you return to your study abroad city, you get those same feelings — and a few wonderful things happen, too. *Cue the happy tears.*
This past autumn, I traveled back to Florence for the first time. It had been three years since I wandered down the cobblestoned streets, eating gelato and soaking up the Tuscan sun. I knew that I wanted to eat at my favorite restaurants, and see my teachers who took me to some of the most famous museums in the world. But, I also wanted to have some new adventures, in place that my study abroad friends and I still consider to be "home."
The trip ended up being so surreal, and one of the most wonderful experiences I've had to date. If you travel back, these four things might happen for you, too.
1. You Get Back In Touch With Your Study Abroad Friends
Traveling back to where you studied abroad means that some familiar faces come up in your social media inboxes and text messages. You're posting pictures of the landmarks and spots you love from the second you arrive, and it always triggers three simple words from your friends who used to be there with you: "Oh my god!" (Read that like Janice from Friends, please!)
They want to know everything, from what the city is like now to when you're planning on going back again. It's a sweet reminder that these people will always be in your life, simply because you shared a once-in-a-lifetime experience together.
2. You Realize That Nothing Has Really Changed
Going into the trip, this is likely something you're secretly hoping for. You're hopping on the plane with your fingers crossed behind your back, in hopes that everything is right where you left it.
One of the best parts about going back to your study abroad city is realizing that not much has really changed in those few months, or even years. Some of the same people may still be working at your favorite restaurants, and the menu items haven't changed, either. There might be a new coffee shop down the street from your old apartment, but other than that, it's all exactly how you remember it.
3. You Check Out Other Cool Spots That You Hadn't Before
Depending on how long you're spending in your study abroad city this time around, you have some time to discover new things. You explore parts that you didn't before, or try new restaurants that your teachers used to recommend.
Truth is, this place is your second home. But, even when you take the time to explore your hometown a little more in-depth, you find things that you didn't know about the first time around. These new experiences make this particular trip memorable and exciting in its own way, and give you even more reasons to come back again in the future.
4. You Start Getting More Involved With Your Love For Travel
Since studying abroad, your wanderlust has definitely been on high gear. You've likely hopped on a plane to a tropical destination for spring break, or visited a friend on the West Coast. But, life started to get busy as soon as you graduated, and you forgot about your love for all things travel.
Going back to the city where it all began sparks new passion and inspiration in you to get out into the world. It makes you want to book more trips, and take on the "true traveler" title. Let's be honest: Spending those four or five months in another country changed you in the best of ways. It's absolutely wonderful to be reminded of your obsession with passport stamps and living out of a suitcase — and then let it carry into everything that you do.