Over the years, Local has reported the good, the bad, and the ugly of readjusting to life and school after studying abroad. The range of opinion expressed by our reporters mirrors the polar reactions from students returning from NYU’s portal campuses to Washington Square Park: from PSAD(Post-Study Abroad Depression) to enthusiastically reinforced patriotism.
After spending the spring semester in Madrid, I experienced both extremes. One moment, I would be wandering aimlessly down the pee-perfumed sidewalks of lower Broadway, longing for jamón serrano (Spanish for wonderfully fattening, greasy, ethereal pig meat) and dazzling Dalí-esqueMadrid skies and the next, worshipping the ever underrated 8 am cart coffee and basking in the balmy breeze drifting off the moonlit Hudson.
Nonetheless, the cold, hard, quotidian transitions that I and, from what I have gathered, my fellow post-abroad peers consistently held in common were academic rather than cultural. “Coming back from Madrid, the most difficult part was readjusting to a rigorous scholastic environment,” says Izzy Hogenkamp, a CAS Junior. “In returning to New York, I found that Madrid had undone a lot of my well-established my study habits–most importantly prioritizing and time management–and now I’m working on getting them back.”
Similar to Izzy, I too felt overwhelmed and underprepared for the work that this fall threw unceremoniously in my lap. I found myself unable to slurp down a couple of quick, one euro glasses of cava before art history or spend the weekend skinny dipping in Valencia. Instead, I was forced to spend my time chugging four dollar lattés on rainy weeknights, hauled up in Bobst’sunwelcoming stacks.
And yet, from a countering perspective, many abroad site veterans feel nostalgic for the unique academic structure of NYU’s abroad campuses. Jess Herrera, who is now studying at NYU’s Washington D.C. campus said, “It was really weird transitioning from being abroad to being back in America in general. Studying ‘away’ at the D.C. campus this semester has made me appreciate the academic standards at Madrid. I think I learned a lot more last semester than I have this fall.”
Like Jess, Junior Will Shwartz praises the one-of-a-kind opportunities of abroad academics: “As someone who’s learning a foreign language,” says Will, who is being modest and is actually proficient in Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, and English, “nothing I have ever learned in a classroom can compare to living in a country where you’re immersed in the language, especially in the cultural colloquialisms.” . . .