Rediscovering America

Mary Marvin

The beginning of the school year is the time to wish students a hearty welcome. This is a conflicting time for most, with the last threads of summer still hanging on to our autumn sweaters, and the memories of vacation still echoing on our Facebook pages. Some students not only have to adjust to the rigorous schedule of school, but also the culture shock of being back in their home county, the good ole USA.

Making the change from any country can be tough, especially because America is unique in a lot of ways. From driving on the right side of the road again to re-mastering the lingo, coming home can be the biggest adjustment some students have to make this semester.

Most study abroad students have summer or semester adventures in big bustling cities, and Stevens Point has a much different vibe. One of the hardest feelings to shake is the city beat, where it’s common to jump on the subway and find yourself in a different slice of town. There’s always something to do, places to go, and people to meet when you’re in a foreign corner of the world.

Then there’s the culture. For one, a Wisconsin accent doesn’t sound like an oddity anymore. People smile on the street! Everything’s in English! You know what’s in the food…most of the time! Bathrooms are free!

Some differences are welcome between the States and elsewhere, but some are dearly missed. American attitudes differ quite a bit from everyone else’s.

Isabel Laperruque, a University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point senior, recently returned from France.

“In culture, I think one of the biggest differences is that almost all of the people that I met in France were very openly politically active and unafraid to express their opinions, whereas I feel a lot of Americans really dance around controversial topics,” Laperruque said. “French people sort of yell about it, but are still friends at the end of it.”

To all returning UWSP students, welcome home. To all the newbies out there who want to learn more about studying abroad, check out the International Programs office on the first floor of the CCC (and that’s first floor in the American sense, AKA the ground floor, for all you European students who don’t remember).

Whether it be to France, Spain, Australia, Poland, Germany, England, Thailand, Japan, or Narnia, UWSP can get you there. (Just pulling your leg! We have no program to Thailand. Though if you have your heart set somewhere, there’s always a way to send you there – we’ve made great advances in shipping packages.)

The overwhelming evidence suggests it’s going to be the time of your life, so hop to it and grab an application to your dream destination.? 

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