End of my Internship Program: Preparing for Re-Entry & Maintaining my International Connections
So, it’s been almost thirteen weeks since I’ve left the United States, my little comfort of home in Washington. I’m definitely feeling homesick! I miss my dog, my cats, and my husband. But most of all, I miss my bed! No, seriously! The place I’ve been in for the past three months has a terribly thin mattress and to add on, I have it set up to be a queen sized using two mattresses pushed together on a futon. I was unable to sleep on the twin sized set up for me, so I pulled it out to the double size. However, the mattresses spread apart all throughout the night. Making it terribly uncomfortable and annoying at the same time. Ughh! Thankfully I was able to hunt down extra pillows, so that helps. But I’m still waking up sore all the time and my legs are stiff from walking so much. My living quarters make it a tad difficult for routine stretches and yoga. “I miss yoga!” I’m going to have to start that again as soon as I get home! So, if you travel to another country for an internship or are just there for more than a few weeks, come up with your own solution to make your bed more comfortable. Or possibly make sure you can set up a work out/stretching routine. I’ve been walking so much since I’ve been in Italy, because everything is pretty close, and I don’t want to pay for transportation. They do have a very nice bike system where you download an app and pay for a city bike for a certain amount of time. I’ve used that a few times but have found it nice to walk most places. Make sure you have good walking shoes! I’ve found Timberlands work quite nicely. They are expensive, but so worth it! Especially with all the uneven walk ways in Italy, Timberland boots have the support and are waterproof for those rainy days.
Although the food is amazing here in Italy, I really do miss breakfast! Breakfast in Italy consists of a pastry and coffee, not much else. I miss my biscuits and gravy, as well as pancakes! The first morning I wake up after being home, I’m going to make a big breakfast and relax with my doggo! I hope my husband has that day off work, or he’ll be having left overs of breakfast for dinner (ha-ha)! I do also miss fried pickles and Mexican food. Italy has sushi, Chinese food, Indian food, some Thai, and even not the best American food places. But I have not come across any Mexican food places. So, my plane lands in Seattle about 5 pm and I told my husband that on our way home we’re stopping at our favorite Mexican restaurant, so I can have a flippen fajita burrito. I can’t wait!
Just because I’m home sick doesn’t mean I’m not going to miss Italy. It is beautiful over here! The architecture is fascinating every time I look at it. I’ve been walking through the streets of Bologna for a few months now and I’m still entranced by the sights around every corner. The wonderful thing about old countries like Italy is, you always see something new around every corner. The city streets are almost like a maze sometimes. You can take a new street almost every day, it may be a slight detour, but maybe by a few minutes. When visiting another country, always take detours! If you’ve been down that street before, try a new one today. You never know what you may find!
I’m going to miss the people I have met a lot! I have met some wonderful people during my time at the school. They have made me feel very welcome, for someone they know who won’t be staying very long, they have treated me like a new member of the family. I love that! The school is like a small community that sticks together, and everyone is so kind. I hate to leave that behind. Some of the kids have also been so wonderful to work with. That’s going to be the hardest thing about being a teacher for me. Is having to say goodbye to the students that leave every year. :'(
So, you know the term “Culture shock”? “The feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.” (Dictionary definition). Well, I don’t recall really experiencing those emotions when I arrived in Italy, other than the struggle with not knowing Italian. I jumped right into sightseeing and traveling to four different places in one week! I never felt disoriented. I do think that maybe my start in Italy going through Venice first, then Rome made the transition to Bologna a little easier. Rome and Venice are very touristy where many people actually speak English. The only shock I experienced, was the sheer joy of being in a country that I have wanted to visit ever since I can remember. I got to see the Venetian canals and city streets the day I landed! My experience off the bat was overwhelmed with pure beauty and magic of this historic country.
When I get home to the States, I have a list of things that need to be accomplished. I get back the 6th of December and the very next weekend I graduate from Western Washington University on the 15th of December. Within that time frame I also must fix up my house. We’re trying to sell the place so that we may move to Boise, Idaho where I have a few job opportunities ahead of me. I don’t think it will be too difficult to immerse back into my life back home. I’m excited to see my animals and my hubby again. It will be Christmas season, so I get to snuggle up on the couch with some warm hot coco listening to Christmas music or watching cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies! 😀
I won’t be working right away when I get back, so I’ll have time to gather my thoughts and prepare myself for things to get done. I look forward for what’s to come and I’m excited to see where each step gets me.
I definitely hope to stay connected with people I have been with here at the school. I do hope that won’t be too much of a challenge. I believe also having a blog such as this or even my teachers blog I have can help. I can share teaching resources and they can share theirs with me as well. I don’t want to lose these connections with people just because I leave to go back home. It’s possible to have friends abroad and keep in touch. Especially with all the new technology these days! We have no excuse not to stay in touch. Although having class meet ups may not work due to the time zone difference, there’s still a possibility my connecting teacher and I could set up a pen-pal system with our students. I think that would be a great way for my students and the students here to get another cultural experience. During my time here at the school in Italy, I have also received many questions on how the schools and colleges work in the U.S. So, having a pen-pal system can be another way to set up an information link between students of the same age in similar situations but have different resources. There are many possibilities for this idea!
I liked the idea of creating this blog throughout my experience. I haven’t been getting many responses on it like I thought. But still having the experience of writing out my thoughts and sharing those with others has been nice. Getting all these things out and written down makes the experience seem more real for me. Also having the many many pictures to look back on help. This has been a fabulous experience and I would promote this opportunity for everyone!
I hope to travel more in the future, preferable with the hubby next time, there’s so many places to see! I would love to visit Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Greece, Egypt, and of course Panama! (My grandma lives there)