There’s always time to reflect on your experiences abroad when the end of your stay approaches. You may look back and say things like, “Wow, time flies.” or “It feels like I just got here!” But the less identifiable moment is that which your “home away from home” becomes exactly that – your home. An air of familiarity sweeps over you and suddenly you’re navigating the streets without a map and ordering food in the local language.
This moment is not marked by a plane ticket home, nor any number of days you’ve been there, but it always happens. And at that moment – without even realizing it – your world just got a whole lot smaller.
Distant places feel more like your new backyard.
New acquaintances become like friends, or family, you’ve known your whole life.
Foreign cultural practices unexpectedly manifest themselves into your own daily habits. (In my case, eating all meals with a fork & spoon and wearing rather modest clothing despite the urge to wear nothing at all in this heat.)
Many of us have heard the saying, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page,” right? Well, my journey in Southeast Asia has definitely felt more like a chapter than a page, but regardless, as I turn the page – or finish this chapter – I must say, I’m at the part when you just can’t put the book down.
Anna W. Service-Learning Semester in Cambodia