Coming back to the US by Brendan Mahoney

I was much more disoriented returning from Buenos Aires than returning from my
semester in Madrid. I believe that this is mainly because of the difference in the level of
immersion I experienced in each semester. It was difficult to become comfortable initially in Argentina, but the daily routine of public transportation, managing communication with the locals and host family, and classes in Spanish eventually became comfortable and normal. By the end of the semester I had gained a sense of confidence in communication and I even started understanding the random conversations that I overheard on the streets. I knew how to find my way anywhere and which bus routes and subway lines took me to which areas of the bustling city. Finishing classes and returning to the United States seemed to happen as soon as I became comfortable in Buenos Aires.

Walking around the streets of Manhattan was almost too overwhelming for my first week
back in the United States. The pace of the crowd was faster than I’d ever remembered.
Everywhere I looked were advertisements written in English and people speaking loudly in
English all around me. I was surprised every time I overheard a conversation and realized it was being spoken in my first language. Everything from the food, music, and entertainment were exactly as they were when I left in February, but it felt as though I had forgotten about all of it in my efforts to become accustomed to Argentina.

While I am excited to return to New Orleans and start my senior year, I’m anxious about
my re-assimilation into the social scene and daily life of Tulane. It seems as if I left New Orleans as an inexperienced sophomore and I am returning as a soon-to-graduate senior, but I do not feel that I have experienced enough of New Orleans and I’m worried that by the time I have become accustomed to the city again, it will be time to graduate.


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