What it is Like to Return

Written by Ruth Manzanares ’18 The date is January 4th, 2017. It’s 4 in the morning and I can’t sleep. I don’t know if it’s from nervousness, excitement, or a combination of the two. All I know is that I’m about to embark on the journey of my life. In just a few hours I will be on a plane to Spain, a longtime dream of mine. I could not tell you when this dream began only that it was …

From Amherst, with Mixed Feelings

I took my first step out of Logan airport, looked around me and sighed deeply. I was surrounded by mountains of snow. There was black ice everywhere. Temperatures were sub-zero. The wind was frigid. My nostrils soon went numb…even breathing hurt. It was at that moment that I began asking myself precisely why I had come back. The next week, I was greeted by something called a “bomb cyclone.” This was indeed as fearsome as the name suggests, and I …

Elusive Expectations: Finding My Bearings After a Split Year Abroad

Written by Lily Fang ’18 Before I left, I wrote myself a letter. It was my final night on-campus before my junior year abroad. After hauling my remaining clutter to storage, I plopped down at my desk in my now-bare room. It felt unsettlingly empty. I was sad that day. A full year abroad was my longtime dream, but it also meant leaving close friends behind—friends who would graduate and disperse across the world before my return. I never knew …

Only one? – Making Friends with French Natives

“A realistic goal for the semester is to make one good French friend.” I scoffed then. It was early September, during orientation for my study abroad program in Bordeaux. Confined to the stuffy university classroom, I was antsy. I longed to begin the experience already, to be free from the long hours of powerpoint presentations and overwhelming logistics. I had grand visions for the semester. Only one good French friend? I assumed it was a given–I was positive that things …