While Abroad: Missing Bits of Home

December 8, 2017

The time has been flying by here in England, and it’s crazy to think that in less than a month, I will be enjoying Christmas break.

Recently, my aunt and her friend arrived from the states to visit me and have their first English abroad experience. Being a tourist with these ladies and watching them marvel over different things has made me realize how quickly I have adjusted to English life. However, it also made me think of some things I miss about home. Of course I miss my friends and family, but there are also some things that are not the usual things people would assume you would miss.

1. Homework, Quizzes and Tests

I know that probably sounds crazy to everyone reading this, but hear me out. At home, the vast majority of college classes determine your grade using several different parts: tests, quizzes, homework, sometimes even attendance and extra credit if you’re lucky. If you have one bad quiz or test, it does not mean that you will fail the class. However, out of the three classes I am taking here, every class has one graded assignment, two papers and one scientific poster. That’s all I have to do while I am hear and I’m sure some people think I am being whiny and ungrateful. But I haven’t had to write an essay since my senior year of high school, I’m rusty! I have never had to make a scientific poster in my life. The referencing and formatting here is completely different. Surprisingly, I’m just good at memorizing facts and takings tests. I’ll take a test over an essay any day.

2. Having a Roommate

I’m sure many American college students will disagree with me, as they did not enjoy their roommate experiences. However, I was blessed and had an amazing roommate. I miss having someone to always talk to, ask for opinions and advice, hang out or just talk about our days. I find it lonely and am so looking forward to living with her when I get back.

3. Push/Pull Door Signs

I’m building it up in my mind, but I feel like the majority of doors at restaurants and businesses back home have these signs. Here it is not that common and I struggle to open at least one door on a daily basis. Looking like a complete idiot, I am sure. At least I know I feel like one.

4. Store Closing Times

America is a country built on consumerism and spending. One obvious sign of this is how late stores stay open – the mall is open till 9:00 p.m. on weekdays. Here however, stores close early. The mall, conveniently a few blocks from my flat, begins to close down at 5:00 p.m. Sometimes I just want to go shopping after my afternoon classes but I can’t. It also really cuts down on the amount of stuff to do in the evening.

5. Sweatpants in Public

My study abroad advisor told us to pack light on the sweats, as not many Europeans wear them, at least not in public. Unlike my home university where sweatpants and a hoody are practically the uniform. For the most part, this hasn’t been crazy challenging. I just wear jeans every day. But on the couple of occasions I made a quick library run in my very baggy sweats, I have had people look at me like I have a third head. They’re just sweats people, chill. These small things make me miss home but it doesn’t mean that I am regretting studying abroad.

Studying abroad has been an amazing experience that I am extremely thankful for. I have grown so much in such a short amount of time and am looking forward to bringing it back over the pond in December.

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