It’s Marshall again writing this from… Kalamazoo, Michigan! I have returned from the wonderful place that is Cape Town, South Africa and am adjusting back to the time change, driving, and the people who surround me everyday. There has definitely been a bit of reverse culture shock and sadness of not seeing all the great people that I met abroad.
1) Besides social media and a few laggy phone calls, I did not really communicate with people back home as I was busy going on adventures and by the time I got home I would be exhausted. Near the end of my time in Cape Town I knew I would see these people soon enough so I didn’t feel like I had to reach out, I would much rather talk to them in person. The wifi could be very bad most of the times when I try to talk to someone over the phone so I wasn’t worried about it.
2) I have definitely taken some habits home with me mostly words and phrases I learned from my international friends. I find it really fun to know some phrases from other languages and also having learned some Afrikaans and Xhosa. Some of the funniest times abroad were due to non-native English speakers and their hiccups of the language, we all laughed together it was never directed at their mistakes and we were all friends at these points. Even being a native English speaker, I also make mistakes and laugh at myself for them. Another habit that I have brought back home with me is the confidence I gained abroad due to my photography and all the amazing people I surrounded myself with. This is very important to me as I haven’t always been as confident as I feel today.
3) For me, the number one item I brought was my camera. Being able to capture moments and share them with your friends is one of the greatest things for me. I love hearing feedback about my photos and making people feel like they were there through my photos. Also my debit card was a great thing to have. I really wish I had brought a water bottle but other than that I felt pretty comfortable in my situation as there were many stores and malls around.
4) In my Natural Resource Economics course I had a project in which I would go to Hout Bay with my fellow SSA classmate and friend Nina and we investigated the community gardens and why they were struggling to produce crops due to the water restrictions and drought. This was easily the greatest item that I was involved with through the studying part of studying abroad. This was so eye-opening and inspirational to me and made me look at things in a different light and I am so happy to have had the opportunity to do this.
5) I have talked to most of my friends that I have met abroad everyday, these people aren’t just people that I met abroad either, these are some of the most genuine, wonderful people that I have ever been around. After just one month, some of us would say “it seems like I have known you for my whole life”. You really see a different side to people when you know nobody and you are so far away from home. It is truly a beautiful thing and I miss them all so much but I know I will see some of them soon as many of these friends are living in the States so I can see them with a quick plane ride. A lot of my other friends are living in Europe so we are already planning a Europe tour to see them and to enjoy seeing Europe together. I consider some of theses people my best friends and I only knew them for a few months but they know me so well and it is such a strong bond between us. It really is weird not seeing them everyday.
To end this blog post, I just want to say if you are even slightly considering studying abroad, please please please do it! Traveling is cool but being able to live in a different country for even a few months while studying is the best thing ever as you are thus into another world and I promise you will make some life long friends and you will learn so much about yourself it will be so worth it. Thank you to everyone at the study abroad office and everyone that helped me get to where I wanted to be, you guys rock! If anyone wants to talk to me about studying abroad or just life in general, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my instagram is lifewithmarshall. Signing off until next time, this has been Marshall.