It’s probably the most difficult thing to explain to someone who hasn’t gone through a similar experience as you did. The feeling of returning home after spending months abroad, living and working or studying in a different country.
I can vivdly remember my time abroad. Spending months in the Australian sunshine state of Queensland in Brisbane and in island-nation of Singapore. It feels as if it was just yesterday. The journey begins and you don’t say goodbye to your friends or your parents. You will probably prefer saying “See you then”, knowing that your next reunion will be months ahead. Adapting your new environment is difficult at the beginning. But you will quickly become part of the community. To me, it was Australia. I wasn’t a foreigner, I immediately got the sense of being one of them. That’s probably what makes Australian mateship so special and is mesmerising thousands of people every year.
It’s probably fair to say that you live the best time of your life during the tenure of your studies or workings abroad. That’s why they often say: “Never let schooling be on your way of your education.” And that’s what the system of school won’t teach you. The immense richness and importance of travel in our lives.But how do you handle your emotions, your feelings once you know that the date of departure is coming closer to you? Saying goodbye to the friends you have met, the close bonds you formed with those you spend most time with. Knowing that home will never ever be the same again. Because you bring so much new to the “old world.”
Surely, your friends and especially your family is happy to welcome you back. And they will say, “Everything is going to be okay, you will adapt the environment that you are so used to. And nothing has changed!” They say is because they want the best of you. But they will never understand the inner conflict that you have with yourself.
The feeling of not belonging to the places you called “home” or “country of origin.”
It’s one of the hardest challenges that you will face. Even after three years, I still struggle with this. I recently had to cry because I know that I am stuck at places that I don’t call home, with an immediate environment that doesn’t appreciate my values and my value that I can bring to my workplace. You know you need to change something but you also know that you can’t change things immediately.
Will you face an existential crisis?
No, you won’t.
Because you need to remind yourself that your current circumstances do not determine who you are. Just because you know you are right now in a place you don’t belong doesn’t mean you have failed as a person.
Be patient. Know that you have a plan to work towards your dreams and goals. If it’s still in your heart, if it’s still in your dreams, if you can’t stop thinking about it, then it’s worth the fight. It’s worth the struggles.