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A Homecoming: Reflecting on My Study Abroad Experience

Aug 31, 2016 1:30:00 PM / by Julie Ritz

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Summer2016_Official_CAPA_Blogger_Joyce_Leung-1.jpgJoyce Leung has been an official CAPA blogger for summer 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A dietetics major at D'Youville College in Buffalo, New York, she has been studying abroad in London this term.

In her last post, Joyce takes some time to reflect on her experience. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us, Joyce! We wish you all the best.

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I loved London, but I also couldn’t be more excited to finish my final year of school. I landed in Toronto, ON on Saturday, drove two hours to Buffalo, NY on Sunday, and classes started Monday. I envied the other CAPA students who had a week in between to enjoy the rest of summer to catch up with friends before they went off to school again. Some people even got two weeks! I had one day.

What it means to be to be back in Buffalo, NY for the new school year: I get this as my view daily until the snow falls.

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This beach is only 20-25 minutes from me. It is not the most beautiful beach I have ever seen but it has been warm enough for me to enjoy almost every day.

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Lucky for me, this guy showed up in town on the weekend at the Buffalo Canalside. 

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Things I’m trying to get used to again after being away from the US:

THE COMMUTE CULTURE. I don’t have an extra 30-45 minutes on the tube in the morning to gather my thoughts until I arrive to class or work. I need to be fully awake so I can drive safely to where I need to go. I miss the tube rides with strangers and reading our own free morning newspapers together in silence now that I’m back to reading the news on my phone. I also miss the paper itself! Pieces in the US are often bombarded with advertisements whether it is the paper or articles online. I did not see much of that in the paper in London. I really do much prefer taking convenient public transit than driving. I dislike parallel parking and I avoid it as much as possible, but when it is the only spot available for the paid school parking lot, I take it anyway.

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THE WAY I PURCHASE GROCERIES. Buying things in bulk because it is a better deal and it saves time seems to be the norm in the US. It is not just me; I see everyone else in the grocery store do it, too. It completely makes sense in our culture, but living right next to a market and grocery store in London, I bought fresh groceries almost every day. The trip I took to a big box store in the US to stock up my kitchen before school started was more overwhelming than I anticipated. I looked around the store wondering what would last as long as possible, hoping it would not spoil. This way, I wouldn't have to come back again for a while. I liked the way I shopped in London more because it helped minimized food waste. As a Dietetics major, I get excited about things like that.

THE SERVICE AT RESTAURANTS. I forgot about the extra friendly servers at restaurants that check up on you all the time. Growing up in an east Asian culture, I rarely went to the westernized style restaurants in my younger years. It took me a while to get used to that kind of service when I started going to westernized restaurants as I grew up. Servers in the US check up on you what seems like every few minutes. Though I don’t appreciate it, I understand that most Americans do. I find it quite intrusive of my meal when I’m dining out if someone continues to come to my table, but I accept it as part of the experience. I much preferred the UK method of service but I will slowly adapt to appreciating how it is here back at home. 

THE FREE WATER AT RESTAURANTS. I can appreciate ordering a glass of water without having to purchase a bottle at a restaurant in the US.

TIPPING AT RESTAURANTS. I sure didn’t forget to leave the expected 20% tip when dining out in the US! 

Thanks Joyce!

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Topics: London, England, Life After Study Abroad