I was expecting to experience a lot of cultural shock when I went to Italy and traveled around Europe; however, I think dealing with reverse-cultural shock was harder for me. When I went abroad, I knew everything could/would be different from home. Returning home, I thought it would be very easily slip back into “the American way” of doing everything – but I was wrong.
There were tons of little things that bothered me or drove me crazy when I first got back. Most people in the Arezzo program did not have a lot of data, so whenever we went out, few people were on social media. When I got back, everyone I saw seemed to always be on their phones, unable to converse without also scanning social media sites or the web. People are constantly on technology, and I miss the almost anti-Internet environment we had — unless of course we were at someone’s apartment that had reliable internet.
I also miss being able to walk everywhere. I initially hated not being able to drive in Italy, but now I hate having to drive or take public transportation to get anywhere in Norman. I loved the small-town feel Arezzo had and the ability to walk anywhere in the town center. Being two blocks away from campus and a 15 minute walk from most of the restaurants spoiled me. It also took me a while to get back to a more normal eating schedule. When I was home, I usually ate dinner by 6; whereas in Italy, the restaurants usually didn’t even open until 7:30.