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Home away from home

Readjusting after studying abroad

By Kenzi Nevis | Contributor

Adjusting to campus after studying abroad can be like jumping into the freezing Irish Sea in October—it’s worth it, but it takes courage. And while Taylor is one of the most welcoming communities I’ve ever been a part of, coming back is still hard.

I spent two semesters in Ireland—the first semesters of both freshman and junior year. Both times, the transition back to campus required different, but equally important, skills.

As a freshman, arriving in Upland at the beginning of J-term was scary, but I wasn’t totally unprepared. My cross-cultural training in Ireland had taught me to navigate adjusting to another culture, and that’s certainly what Taylor was to me at first. I learned that if I locked myself in my room, I’d never readapt. It was uncomfortable for a while, but I knew I had to find a tribe of upperclassmen who could pull me into the Taylor community. I found that family in the theatre.

Ireland in all of its beauty is a home away from home to some Taylor students

Ireland in all of its beauty is a home away from home to some Taylor students

As a junior returning to Taylor after another semester away, I expected the transition to be easier—I was wrong. I’d changed over the past months. Suddenly, I didn’t quite fit into the role I’d built for myself, and it wasn’t as if life had remained static here, either. My friends had changed. The things I was a part of had changed. New students had come and others had left. It was sad at times, but I was also incredibly excited to be a part of something as dynamic as the Taylor community. It would be easier if everything stayed the same, but wouldn’t it be a little boring, too?

This semester I’ve discovered I can’t count on relationships to remain healthy if I don’t put work into them. This has caused me to reevaluate what’s most important. I’ve had to make a conscious effort to retain some friendships and learn to let others go. It’s been a hard but beautiful journey. I’m grateful for both the semesters I spent on campus and those I spent across the sea.

They’re different sides of the same thing to me: home.

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