How to Handle Returning Home and Missing Your Study Abroad Experience

Sep 28, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Marianne Zarzar

Marianne Zarzar

Marianne Zarzar is an official CAPA blogger, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance major at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, she is studying abroad in Sydney.

In today's post, Marianne reflects on her study abroad and internship experience in Sydney, what she misses about it, and tips on how to handle coming back home and maintaining relationships.


I never knew it was possible to miss a place this much. Coming back home was filled with mixed feelings. Even though I am happy to be back, I have missed Australia and all the friendships and connections I made throughout my study abroad experience. I have been back home for a couple of weeks now, and the most random things still remind me of Australia. I have also started noticing some of the slight differences between Australia and the US in terms of how we do certain things a bit differently here. For example, the tiny space between bathroom stalls here in the US are huge compared to the ones in Australia, but I had never noticed until I came back. Also, I got so used to walking on the opposite side of the street, which actually makes a lot of sense to me, that I still do it even after having been back for a while.

Mrs. Macquarie's Chair

Having been an exchange student before, I somewhat knew what to expect when coming back. I knew for example that almost no one will be as interested in hearing about your overseas experience as you are in telling them. This is not to mean that they won’t be excited for you, but this experience will impact you so much that you will be able to talk about it forever.

Vivid Sydney Festival

There will also be moments in which you have a really cool story to share, but no one will really get it except for the people you experienced studying abroad with, and that is okay. I think this is why maintaining relationships with the friends you have made while abroad is so important, even though it is challenging. These are the people that will be able to relate to you and whom you will be able to talk to about this experience for forever.

Enjoying the View on the Sunshine Coast

Leaving behind all the people I met as a result of this experience was really hard. It is one of those things where you know you probably will not be able to see them again in the near future, which makes things even harder. The people I met are not the only thing I miss. Leaving my internship was also really challenging, and I do still miss it from time to time. I was super lucky to have had an internship placement that I really enjoyed and that challenged me in new ways every day. I really miss waking up early to go to intern and having new tasks to tackle, and learning new things about laws and the legal system in Australia every day. You get so used to the routine you had while abroad, and then, just as you are getting used to the way things work and are comfortable living abroad and within your internship placement, it is time to go home. It is wild how fast time flies.

Draping the Australian Flag with Rachel

This experience gave me the opportunity to explore an area within the legal sector that I had never considered before in my life. Not only did this opportunity help me grow personally, it also gave me something to think about in terms of my future career. Regardless of all the things I miss, I am so happy I get to talk about this experience for the rest of my life. I have mentioned multiple times how thankful I am to have had this opportunity, and how much I have gained as a result. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Thanks, Marianne!

See more of Marianne's journey in Sydney.

Learn More about the CAPA Sydney Program

Topics: Sydney, Australia, Practical Study Abroad Advice, Tips, Reflection