Before leaving Ireland, our IES abroad advisors and teachers warned us of a phenomenon called “reverse culture shock,” which basically means that some students have trouble acclimating back to their culture at home because they have become so accustomed to their culture abroad. I feared that I would experience this once I got back to the United States, but it turns out it was much easier than I expected.
The reason it was so easy for me to get back into the swing of things at home was because I drove to IU after my arrival to the states and saw all of the friends I had missed so much when I was abroad. They made me feel welcome: the true definition of home. Although I had made Dublin my temporary home, it is hard to make such a foreign land seem familiar. But once I traveled to Bloomington, I knew I was where I loved and felt most comfortable.
I immediately started to notice the differences between Ireland and the United States once I got off my plane. For instance, everything in America really is bigger. The roads are much larger, probably due to the fact that we have bigger cars such as trucks and SUVs in the states, the food portions are huge in comparison to what Ireland’s restaurants put on a plate, and houses in general are much larger and spacious than those found in Ireland. I’ve also noticed that customer service in the states is more prevalent. I’m constantly bombarded by salespeople or waiters asking me how I’m doing. I used to find this helpful and polite, but now it almost feels a bit too much and I just want to eat or shop in peace.
I have found myself saying, “Well, in Ireland…” and people just look at me as if to say, “Yeah, we get it, you went to Ireland.” Our advisers also warned us of this, and it is a problem I need to watch because as happy as my friends are that I had this incredible experience, they just simply can’t relate to what I did over in Ireland. I need to channel this energy into blogging instead.
One major thing I have missed about the states is having a dryer. I can finally pop my wet clothes into my dryer at home and in 40 minutes have soft, dry clothes. I used to have to wait hours for my clothes to dry naturally, which left them stiff and unappealing.
As much as I will miss the beautiful island of Ireland, I can say that I’m happy to be home and it has been easier than I thought to go back to my normal life at home. I have traveled the world, but I’m still an Indiana girl at heart.