When I was getting ready to leave for France, one of the biggest things people would remind me of was culture shock and I didn’t really understand why. Of course France is going to be different than the United States, no big deal.

However, it actually was a big deal, obviously bigger than what I had assumed. People ate differently, talked about things differently and daily life was completely different from life in the States. It took a while to adjust to these changes, but eventually, they became second nature, almost normal.

I wasn’t expecting the same thing when I returned. Reverse culture shock is much weirder than normal culture shock.

Everything seems normal and natural to you, but it’s not how you live your life anymore. I’ve been home now for over a week, and I still sometimes wake up expecting to run down the street for a baguette or to hop on the metro and go explore something new. It’s really weird to think that my life in Paris is over (or temporarily suspended, as I like to think of it) and that I have to remember how to be an American.

The same thing happens on a smaller scale during many of the longer breaks at school. At school, it’s easy to get around, to see your friends, to be free to do what you want when you want to do it. Once you’re home, it might not be the same way. Friends don’t live down the hall or across the street anymore and you’re suddenly burdened with chores and responsibilities that I had forgotten about.

Your friends from high school are going to feel it too, as everyone adjusts to living on campus and making new friends. This weird feeling can change relationships, but thankfully it doesn’t last too long and with enough effort, you’ll be able to hold onto relationships with people you really care about. Soon enough, you’ll be back at school and everything seems to be back the way it should be.

It’s going to be weird the first time you set foot on campus, but it won’t take very long for you to find your place at Gannon, I promise. Soon afterwards, you’ll be campus-savvy and won’t have to worry about anything more than finally starting that research paper.

Talk to you soon,