The possibility of culture shock when returning home

By Lindsay Hawes, UCONN

After living in Florence for over three months, it’s a good time to reflect on how we feel now compared to when we first arrived.  When first settling into the new culture, it was a bit intimidating and was definitely going to take some getting used to.  Between the language barrier and the different lifestyle, it was clear and important to keep an open mind to what the next four months would bring.  There were times when we’ve all wanted to give up and there are times where we’ve felt secure and comfortable in our new lifestyle.

Three months later, I think it is safe to say that we are in the adapting stage of studying abroad.  The culture shock has passed, and we have engraved our daily routine here in Florence.  But now, with only a few weeks remaining, a large question lies: how will we feel once we’re home?  We have heard so much about culture shock going into a new country and how to deal with it, but are we prepared for the feelings that will arise once we head back home?  Now that we are so used to being in a different country, we might expect life to be this way once we are in America again.  It’s time to start to prepare ourselves for the arrival back into the country we grew up.  It will definitely be interesting to see how we all react to being back in our home land and how differently we all feel.

For example, everything tastes better here. The food, the bread, the olive oil, etc. I have got so accustomed to trying new foods and enjoying it, that I don’t know what I am going to do when I get home. I’m not going to want to eat the typical American dinners I’ve been eating for my entire life. Mostly, I’ll miss the pizza, in particular Gusta Pizza. Even though it is a tourist attraction, it is the best pizza I’ve ever eaten in my life. There is nothing in America that tastes like Italian pizza. It’s definitely going to be a rough adjustment when I return to America at the end of the program.