So I’m back in the U.S. wading in biochemistry, medical school preparation, and general school work. I’ve been back for about 2 months now so it feels safe to say my transition back to school and to life in the U.S. is complete ? I guess ?
Spain was a learning experience and I loved a lot of my experiences there, but I never viewed it as my new home. I had a lot of conversations with people while I was abroad about this whole idea of people saying they’re never going to go back home because they love their new home so much. While that gets thrown around a lot, I think it misses a lot of really important things. I think it’s great when people really dive head first into their time abroad. I absolutely think that’s what you have to do. Commit to the language, the culture, and the people to the greatest extent you can with the understanding that you are always learning and will likely never truly master or fully understand a culture that is not yours. However, I think the beauty of study abroad is that it allows you to build a more nuanced understanding of the world by combining perspectives, cultures, and understandings. Throwing off your home culture, bashing it across the board isn’t necessarily productive.
Do I miss Spain or at least aspects of it? Absolutely (shoutout to Spanish tortillas). Are there also aspects of home I’m grateful to have back? For sure. Every country has foundational similarities we can appreciate by spending time abroad and also some differences to observe, learn about, and investigate. No one culture has all the answers, it would seem, but by learning about and experiencing as many cultures as possible, we can improve our understanding of the world, its people, and the best policies and action moving forward on both a macro and micro scale.