You just got back. Your room looks a bit foreign to you (too clean -- thanks Mom), the air smells different, your dog was wicked happy to see you, and you haven’t even unpacked those suitcases. You’ve just touched down back at home from studying abroad.
You pish-posh-waved the reverse culture shock garbage that your director kept reminding you of as you studied for finals. And, even though you cried when you left, it was awesome seeing familiar streets, friends, stores (OMG TARGET) and getting back into your old routine... for about five minutes.
Because right now I know for a fact that your biggest want is a ticket for a flight -- miles for a flight, money for a flight anywhere -- let's just leave! Home is cool for about five seconds and then, dearies, you have unfortunately caught the travel bug and you won’t be able to stop talking about it.
You can’t help it. You just. can’t. help it. Study abroad is seeping out of you at the seams and your friends and family, once so excited to hear about your adventures, are going to want to buy you a ticket back just so they don’t have to deal with you anymore.
Not sure if that's you? Well, below are some tell-tale signs that you've become that really annoying friend who studied abroad.
1. You Insert At Least One Reference to Study Abroad in Every Conversation
You and your friends can be sitting in the dining hall talking about normal college things and then all of a sudden you get the sudden urge to complain and proceed to cut off their conversation about homecoming to announce:
“Guys the milk here sucks so bad do you know how good the milk is in (insert country here)?! it’s like way better and way healthier...”
And all of your friends have heard this - or maybe it was about the pretzels or the beer or the desserts or the beaches or the bars or the clubs or the guys. But this is the basis of your annoying habits. Every conversation has at least once reference to study abroad.
2. You Want Everyone to Adopt Your Abroad-Home's Way of Doing Things
"You know, Germans never wear shoes in the house and they have these things called house slippers. We should do it too!"
Yeah, OK, house shoes are cool. But to point it out every time you step over that threshold is going to be costly to your reputation. (And don't even think about trying to buy everyone house slippers... tried it. Doesn't work.) Still, you just can't help but thinking about how much better a certain thing was done in your host country.
Except, the way you used to wash dishes, shower, anything that's different -- sometimes it's not necessarily better. It's just different.
So, try and withhold the comments occasionally. Because this is just like when you were abroad and you kept saying "In AMERICA blah blah blah". It gets a little old. Samesies for when you're home. But there are ways you can subtly persuade your friends that, you know, eating dinner at 9pm is kinda cool right?
3. You've Become a Master Chef / Linguist / [Insert Skill Here]
It’s 9pm and your roommate says that they’ll cook tonight if you make the drinks. Sure no prob. This is normal. Until you sidle up to the stove and proceed to hang on one elbow and criticize their pasta cooking skills. “Ew -- you didn’t salt the water enough.”
As you add more and throw it over your shoulder because now you have very deep superstitions that you never had before. “Do you even know what al dente is?!” You proclaim with too many hand gestures.
Your roommate is now open mouthed watching this foray wondering where you came from because they’re pretty sure that you tried to make carbonara by putting the egg in the pasta water only a few months before.
But now, now that you've studied abroad, you're suddenly an expert in cooking -- even if you only took one course on it. Ditto for any other language, skill, or subject you picked up knowledge about while overseas.
4. You and Your Study Abroad Friends Complain About How No One Gets It
Look, you realized that maybe you are getting annoying so what do you do? Get together with your friends from study abroad and complain about how no one else gets it. No one gets how awesome your experiences was, no one gets how scary and cool it is to be abroad and everyone is just cranky that study abroad has changed you.
So you get your Spain Squad together (or whatever you called yourselves) and you sit in your apartment and play the songs that were the rage in your abroad town and you kind of realize that that reverse culture shock is a thing -- and you hate it. By the way, forcing that song onto non-overseas friends may work awesome at connecting or they could hate it and crush your soul by yelling to STOP IT every time your phone rings (cause it’s your ringtone now, duh).
But it’s ok. Even if your other friends snub you on your "study abroad date nights", they’ll get over it -- and they may even appreciate being away from abroad chit chat for a bit.
5. Your Social Media Statuses Now Come in Multiple Languages
Case and point -- I was this person. I posted random Italian sayings and when it got to Christmas, I was wishing everyone happy holidays in every language I could think of. Don’t try to deny it -- we both did it and liked it.
But your family can’t read any of those languages, and they're starting to think you’re kind of snobby about it now. Because honestly, do you really think your friends in Germany are going to be offended if you don’t write Fröhliche Weihnachten? Nah. But go and show your deepened knowledge! Use the power of the international force! Maybe it will spark a friend from overseas to want you back so bad they’ll help you get there!
6. You've Become Relentlessly Critical of Where You're From
Maybe a few months ago you were proudly brandishing your Old Navy Flag T-Shirt and eating cake that has strawberry red stripes and blueberry stars (you all know you know what I’m talking about) but right now, the America feeling has put a bad taste in your mouth -- which you proceed to spread to all in earshot with accompanying fun facts that are probably not as fun to your peers.
“Did you know that the US actually has terrible healthcare compared to the rest of the countries? You quip. “Did you know that my friends from Sweden actually get PAID to go to school while we sit here in debt?” “Did you know that the American military...”
Study abroad has opened your eyes to different ways of doing things, and you aren't shy to tell everyone you left back at home about it.
7. Your Friends Now Hit You With a Pillow Every Time You Talk
Keep up these things and you’ll see that your friends and family will start ripping out their hair when they’re around you (or really just won’t be around you that much anymore). But hey, that's their loss on all of the incredible knowledge that we gained going overseas right? I mean, we’re kind of awesome now -- and SO far above our friends that don’t have a passport.
Ok, not really but we just want them to get the travel bug too! But I think the funniest thing about being that annoying student is when we finally get someone interested in talking about it -- “SO! How was it?! It must’ve been so great!” They gush. “Tell me about everything!” And for some reason in that moment, all we can say was “It was amazing.”
Do you know someone who didn't study abroad, but you think they should? Nominate them to #GoStudyAbroad. You could win a trip back to your study abroad country, and they could win a scholarship -- what's not to love?Photo Credits: Anna Vander Stel, Martha Landry, and Anna Morris.