What: Coming Home workshop
When: 1 p.m. Monday
Where: C4C, room 484
Every morning, University of Colorado senior Derek Schloss is reminded of his semester abroad when he walks across the bright carpet — that he brought back from Morocco — that adorns his bedroom floor.
“It helps to have souvenirs like that around to remind me of my favorite places,” Schloss said, of the hand-woven cactus silk .
Keeping reminders of a semester abroad can help students re-adjust to life in Boulder after a semester away, said Maya Borgueta, psychologist for CU’s Counseling and Psychological Services.
Borgueta began a support group for students returning from study abroad to help them re-acclimate and incorporate their experiences abroad into their Boulder lifestyle.
“Students are so busy preparing to go abroad that they don’t think about how they’ll feel when they come back,” Borgueta said. “That kind of experience can really change people and coming home can be an adjustment.”
Schloss spent the fall semester in Rome. He then spent five weeks backpacking before spring classes began in January.
Besides the Moroccan carpet, Schloss said he came home with a journal full of Italian dishes to make and a recipe for Moroccan Mint Tea.
“After six months in Italy I needed a break so I haven’t tried any of the pastas yet,” Schloss said.
Schloss said he’s excited to make the tea that not only tastes good but brings back memories of his favorite spot.
“Tea wasn’t just a drink to quench your thirst, it was part of their culture,” Schloss said. “It shows their welcoming nature and that’s one of the things I really loved about that place.”
Schloss said the hardest part of coming back to Colorado was “not being able to walk outside and see the Colosseum every day, like when I was in Rome.”
CU senior Mary Raymond spent her first year of college at a university in Switzerland and coming back to Boulder was a difficult adjustment.
Raymond said she is a quiet and reserved person, a personality that blended in well with Swedish culture.
“Americans are a lot more outgoing, so it took some adjusting just to the people when I got back,” Raymond said.
In Switzerland, Raymond said people don business casual attire, so she was relieved to get back to Boulder to wear sweats to class.
Overall, Raymond said she adjusted back to American culture quickly.
“Students expect study abroad to be a life-changing experience, but they’re surprised when they come back and realize they changed,” Borgueta said.
Relationships with family and friends can often change after a student travels abroad, Borgueta said.
“Students expect to come home and spend hours showing off their pictures and souvenirs and telling stories about their experience, but not everybody is as excited about the trip as they are and that can be disappointing,” Borgueta said.
CU senior Hannah O’Brien spent last spring in France and she said coming home was an adjustment.
In France, O’Brien said she spent most of her free time going to museums, art galleries and attending cultural events — something she didn’t do in Boulder. Now that she’s back, O’Brien said it’s difficult to incorporate those activities into her life at CU.
“That’s not something I usually do with my friends in Boulder,” O’Brien said. “But I’m hoping to start doing that kind of stuff more.”