15 Study Abroad Comedowns by Sarah Oliva

For those of you who have studied abroad sometime during your four years at Gonzaga, you know that coming home is often an experience that involves many mixed—and quite confusing—emotions. On the one hand, you’re super stoked to get back to campus and reunite with old friends and faces. You miss the basketball games, the excitement of campus happenings, and you may even miss Spokane. You seem to be doing fine until suddenly, suddenly you’re not. You start reminiscing on the many adventures you had, and when you try to explain them to others, they may not always come out right and certain aspects always get left out.


For those of you who haven’t studied abroad, it may be worth your while to read on so you can get a better understanding of what exactly your housemate or friend is going through

1.) Saying “ciao” to everyone when it’s no longer socially acceptable
The one word we all know how to use, and we suddenly sound like pretentious for using it.

2.) Seeing other abroad-goers Facebook pictures
Looking at others pictures will make you reminisce about all of the places you have been, or “the time I…” and it’s a downward spiral from there. You may find yourself wasting an immense amount of time on Facebook vicariously living through your friends abroad.

3.) Not recognizing everyone on campus
Where did all these new people come from anyway?

4.) Realizing people will actually judge you when you stroll in 10 minutes late to class
Passing our professor walking the opposite way to get coffee as you are panting up the stairs 5 minutes late to class was always a relief when we were abroad. But now being on time matters again.

#4 Judging

5.) Texting
After most of us giving up on being able to text all semester, texting can suddenly feel overwhelming and hard to keep up with.

6.) A Tuesday night is just a Tuesday night
Instead of deciding which club or bar to go to, we’re deciding if we should go to Zips or Pita Pit.

Although Nutella is still available in the U.S., it’s just not quite the same. Especially without crepes.


8.) When someone asks you what you’re doing this weekend, they don’t mean what country in Europe you’re traveling to
On the bright side, at least we don’t have to deal with conversion rates!

9.) Forgetting what your hobbies are
Eating pasta, eating gelato, eating pasta…

10.) Almost ordering wine at a restaurant until you realize the drinking age exists
For all of you out there under 21 and whom can’t exercise your very experienced palette.

11.) Walking into a Costco and getting overwhelmed
Too. Many. Choices.

12.) Turning into a food critic for every Italian restaurant you go to
“This is not what Italian pizza tastes like…”

13.) The library exists during the semester
Enough said…

14.) Going into a coffee shop and not knowing what to order
Everything is so fancy….where is my cappuccino?

15.) The GIF community
We all miss seeing Shelley, Linda, Alessandro, Denise, our Italian professors, our favorite local Italian coffee/gelato shop barista (shout-out to Fabio), our English-for-Pasta families, and of course seeing each other (every single day). Luckily, we have the Gonzaga community to welcome us home with open arms.

#15 GIF Community

We will all eventually get back into the flow of life post-abroad, and for some of us it may come faster than others. The good thing is, we’re not alone in these feelings and emotions we may be having. And there is no doubt we had many comedowns (aka culture-shock) when we first arrived to our destinations abroad. It’s all part of the experience.


Categories: Life Abroad, Lifestyle

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