All the things that happen when you return from a year abroad
All your mates have graduated ?
Ah, yes, the returned year abroad student. Fresh from South America, you'll probably find them in the SJ telling anyone who'll listen how incredible their experience was, how much they've grown as a person, and how uncultured anyone who hasn't done a year abroad truly is.
As irritating as their constant commentary may be, spare a thought for your loquacious mate. Coming back from a year abroad is a massive reverse culture shock and they need all the help they can get. Here are all the things that happen when you return from what was, let's be honest, the peak of probably your entire life:
1. You literally cannot stop talking about your year abroad
As hard as you might try, anyone who's been away for a substantial period knows it's virtually impossible to make it through a ten minute conversation without making at least one year abroad reference. Oh, you got a Tesco meal deal? Did I tell you about that time I ate fresh bananas whilst canoeing down the Amazon? SO different to regular bananas. SO nourishing. A monkey peeled it for me himself.
2. All your mates have graduated
Whilst you were off galavanting across Germany, Bratwurst in hand, your mates that you were joined at the hip to in first and second year were doing all nighters in the library, trying desperately to get their dissertations finished. Now, they've all moved to London and probably work in marketing. You, however, are now at least one year, if not two, above everyone else on your course and have about four mates. You spend a suspiciously large amount of time hiding from the world in the Guild.
3. You were probably gringoed, and now are super weird about money and valuables
Chances are, if you spent your year abroad in South America, you were probably gringoed at some point. Whether you were mugged at a bus stop in Rio (RIP iPhone), or ended up being charged 600 pesos for a ten minute taxi ride, you found out the hard way that clueless Western tourists are easy targets. Now, even a simple night out on Concert Square leaves you panicking every time you misplace your purse.
4. You've physically forgotten how to write an essay
Turns out a year abroad requires very little work. On those two occasions where you were actually required to submit an assignment, it was far from your best work. Either your host institution had much lower standards than Liverpool, or you were just smashed most days and knew that it only counted towards five percent of your grade. On returning to uni you've literally had to learn to write again.
5. You keep using foreign words
You're hungover? I think you mean "gueule de bois".
6. You feel woke AF
Trekking through the Himalayas and having an Ayahuasca induced hallucination in Peru really changed you as a person. Gone are those days of stressing over mindless things. New clothes? Who needs them? Do you know how many native people there actually are in the world? And most of them aren't white! Who'd have thought?
Did I tell you about that one time I built wells for orphans in Africa?
7. British food tastes so strange to you
Brits are famed for their lack of cuisine, and after a year of proper seasoning and food with depth of flavour, potato waffles and baked beans just isn't the same. Who wants Greggs when you could be devouring Parisian pastries on the Champs-Élysées.
8. You had your heart broken and have sworn off men for life
Your year abroad fling ended with a charmingly elusive American promising to remain faithful until you're reunited. Turns out the only thing he's good for is ghosting your desperate midnight Whatsapp messages. Whilst it became apparent by October that Brad was nowhere to be seen, you've sworn off men for life (or at least the rest of the semester). *Deletes Tinder*
9. All your shag buddies from 2nd year have long term girlfriends
Miss you Dave. Hope you're happy now x
10. You cannot get warm
No matter how hard you try, months in a warm climate have permanently altered your internal thermostat. Now you're back in Liverpool, you just cannot get warm and are forever wearing a wooly jumper. Even February's two day heatwave couldn't tempt you out of your thermals.
11. You've gained an appreciation for British formalities
You never realised the sanctity of the basic queue until you find yourself in the middle of Peru trying to fight your way to the front of the line in a bank. Good customer service has also never been so strongly appreciated.