Returning Post-Program: A Self-Discovery Experience

Aimee Stonelake ’19 is a senior Psychology major with a minor in social work at Elizabethtown College. Aimee had the opportunity to study abroad in Dunedin, New Zealand. Although prepared to study abroad, Aimee had difficulty adapting when returning home.

After five months in New Zealand, Aimee arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia to see her brother. Aimee’s luggage was the last one off the conveyor and her phone died. But none of this bothered her, showing her how much she had grown since studying abroad.

Before studying abroad, Aimee mulled over whether or not she had made the right decision. Through her support system, she felt prepared to handle herself abroad. But she was not prepared for how she would feel when she returned home.

When homesick abroad, Aimee would close her eyes and picture what she missed; her family, friends, the weather. She missed her comfort zone and anticipated stepping off the plane and going home. She did not anticipate she would be different when arriving at home. Now when she closes her eyes, she pictures New Zealand.

Arriving back in the US, Aimee felt like she had never left. This accentuated how much she had changed. Sometimes being at home felt uncomfortable because Aimee was accustom to being an independent, active traveler.

From her time at home, Aimee learned studying abroad is not the end, but the beginning. Aimee changed, but in ways that enhanced her. She allowed herself to go out of her comfort zone, learned things about herself she had never known, and pushed herself to the limit in school, friendships, and work.

Aimee is thrilled she study abroad because she has learned life begins at the end of your comfort zone. She learned to remember the simple things and is now able to look back and realize she was able to make something out of nothing, one of her biggest accomplishments to date.

*Click on the hyperlinks above to learn more about BCA Study Abroad’s Dunedin, New Zealand program and to read Aimee’s original blog published by BCA Study Abroad on March 27, 2019.

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