After having spent an entire semester abroad, away from the normal college routine at school, some students have found it difficult getting back into the swing of things after returning to Wittenberg University.
Having the opportunity to study abroad or off-campus gives students opportunities, like living with a host family in Spain or working for the Department of Education in Washington D.C. Experiences like these can make it hard for certain students to get used to life back in Springfield.
“The way of life over there is just so much different than at Wittenberg,” said senior Andy Lamb who studied in Spain during the fall of 2009. “I just remember it being hard for me getting re-acclimated with all of my friends and the amount of work I had to do in class.”
Juniors Jim Ferris and Elliot Avis both mentioned that studying away from the comforts of Wittenberg gave them the opportunity to become more independent. Each of them felt they had to rely on themselves a lot more while they were away.
“The self-independence skills that I learned was something that I would not have gained at Witt,” said Avis who spent last semester in Washington D.C. “After all, I feel like someone could only gain something like that after relying on yourself in a major city for a semester.”
Since there are some major cultural differences in some of the places students go, many students’ social mentality also changed during their absence from Wittenberg.
“While abroad I noticed that people go out and drink more to socialize rather than to get wasted,” said junior Ashley Sinning who studied in Alicante, Spain. “When I got back on campus it is almost like I forgot what to do at house parties because almost everyone just drinks to get drunk.”
“In Ireland, you can go to a pub for a few hours and everyone remains quite civilized for the most part,” said Ferris who was abroad in Galway, Ireland last semester. “Yet in that more civilized atmosphere, one often encounters better conversation and discourse about current events than you’ll ever find in a bar in Springfield.”
Some students noted that another thing they miss, upon returning to school, is the weekend travel.
“The only main places to go around here is Dayton, Columbus or Cincinnati, which all feel pretty similar,” said junior Kylie Barrie who called London home last semester. “I just miss the feeling of hopping on a plane and going to places like Munich, Paris, Barcelona and Geneva for a weekend. It was just so easy.”
Perhaps one of the toughest things about returning to Witt that students have mentioned is the fact that so many stories come out of studying abroad; and the student body, for the most part, does not share the same excitement and enthusiasm about their friends’ experiences over seas.
“I will tell a story about something that happened to me while abroad, and it is almost as if the person I am telling doesn’t even want to hear about it in the first place,” said Sinning. “It seems like nobody even cares that I was away for a semester, experiencing something that completely changed my life.”
Studying abroad provides students with unparalleled opportunities to expose themselves to other cultures, become more independent and see the world. On the other hand, upon returning, the shock of re-entry into the Wittenberg curriculum, combined with the less than enthusiastic reception from friends who haven’t experienced the time away from routine studies, gives repatriated students an abroad hangover like they’ve never experienced before.
(Brad Douglass / email@example.com)