Is Your Study Abroad Experience Affecting Your Friendships Back Home?
Old friends are the best; they’ve grown up with you, and are part of so many of your coming of age stories. What they weren’t part of was your study abroad experience, and that may make them feel excluded from your life.
When you return home from study abroad, you’re going to need to show your friends that you appreciate them, and value their friendships.
Put Your Friends First
Things changed back home while you were away. Your absence was noticed, but not mooned over. People’s lives kept humming along. Everyone was just as busy as you were.
Hopefully your English language studies in the US didn’t keep you SO busy that you neglected to Skype, Facebook, or talk with friends back home. You might not have been able to be there physically for the highs and lows of their lives, but you certainly could have supported them emotionally.
When you first get together, it might be a good idea to hold off regaling your friends with your tales of study abroad adventure, and take the time to catch up on what happened in their lives while you were gone. Did they change jobs? Move to a new apartment? Buy a house? Maybe they had a travel adventure of their own?
Showing interest in your friend’s experiences is one way to demonstrate that you care. Another is to bring them a meaningful souvenir from the US.
I’m sure there was a moment during your ESL studies where something or someplace reminded you of your friend, and a shared story. Giving your friend a gift from America that’s meaningful, tells them that they were in your thoughts while you were away.
When you return to your home country, you’re going to need to make a point of showing friends that you appreciate them. You may be different in some ways but your feelings of friendship toward them are just as strong as ever. After all, old friends are the best friends, thousands of miles, and years spent apart can’t change the memories you share.