The greatest time of everyone's life comes back to reality. And if there's one thing that's for certain, you'll definitely be hearing about it.
Cool New ‘Abroad Friends’
Now that the world-traveler extraordinaire has returned from boarding a plane, wearing boat shoes for awhile, and boarding another plane, he no longer has that much in common with you, the clearly sheltered former friend who has no idea what it means to get sunburned at obscure latitudes.
New life perspectives are rampant now, and they can only really be shared with abroad friends--the only other people who really “get it.” No one else “gets it,” because the experience was so unique and awesome, and unique, and there was really nothing else like it, because it was just that “life-changing.” And unique.
***It’s important to note that the overwhelming percent of abroad friends are also American. Nothing like traveling halfway across the world to party with a bunch of kids from another Big 10 school.
Having an extended conversation with someone whose just got back from another country is one of the crueler exercises in first-world torture. No matter where you steer the chat, it’s all but guaranteed you’ll end up talking about some obscure experience that went down in Buenos Aires. For your convenience, here are some examples:
When walking on the sidewalk: The sidewalks in Florence are nuts, dude. They’re made of this material that I don’t totally know how to pronounce.
When at a college bar that’s supposed to awesome: This is nothing compared to this place in Copenhagen we always went to. Thursdays, free beer from 11-1--well actually it’s 23-1 but figured you didn’t know that--and holy shit it gets outta control. Girls, redonk. Blows this place away.
When passing out on a couch: Yo, this hostel in Bangkok. I thought I was gonna die. Look at me, I had a life experience that I am now somewhat embellishing.
Somewhat Douchey Altered Appearance
Maybe it’s a haircut tailored to the local style. Maybe it’s a small tattoo, some faux-meaningful phrase in another language. Either way, the alteration is always some sort of attention screamer, and any sort of approach is deadly. Innocently like those interesting earrings? Best prepare for an hour-long monologue about the welding customs in rural Portugal. There’s no escaping once you’ve made that plunge.
Whether or not you agree with Will McAvoy, spending half a year somewhere that isn’t America will make you realize a thing or two. Not so much how America is shitty, but how there’s other places in the world that do things a little bit differently, and seem to be doing just fine.
Clouded by the “Is This Real Life?” experience of study abroad, many a returnee will confuse their multi-month rager and fine-dining vaudeville show with actually living somewhere--naturally, making that place seem hella cooler than it really is. America will suddenly be a place where people “don’t care about the right things,” “don’t ever think about the big picture,” and “everything, if you really take a look at it, is seriously messed up.”***
***That is, until you try and pair the words "Greece" and "Economy"