Reflections on a summer away from home

Lifestyle

August 14, 2022

Before the end of the last school year I wrote a blog post explaining my thoughts on spending my first summer away from home. I remember being a little disappointed and nervous about the prospect of experiencing a different summer from the ones I had before. As I write this towards the end of the summer, I can honestly say that spending this summer by myself away from home has been one of the best decisions for me personally and professionally.

This past summer I got the chance to intern for a really cool company focusing on the exact things I’m studying and are interested in, but the catch was that I had to stay in the US. At first this seemed like a drawback, but I’m really happy I ended doing it!

I spent the summer living on campus in Georgetown, which I initially thought might get a little lonely or eerie, but I ended up loving it. Being on campus for the summer gave me a chance to really appreciate it without the constant rush of people and the stress of school and exams; it was nice to finally experience a slow few months since moving here.

I found it hard to settle into Georgetown when I moved there in the fall and I would definitely say that by the time the spring semester wrapped up, I felt pretty settled. But, being here over the summer has really made it feel like home. Even though my internship could sometimes be stressful, I think taking away a lot of the stress that constantly surrounds me when I’m in Georgetown during the semester made me feel more like a place where I can relax and enjoy myself, a place that feels like home. I wasn’t constantly studying, hanging out with friends, and thinking about the next meeting or class I have to attend. Instead, I built up my little routines around the neighbourhoods, cooked dinners in my apartment, read on the front lawn, and ran everyday on my favorite trail. To me, it’s the time I got to spend on the little things that made Georgetown feel more like home to me.

I think that spending this summer away from home made me feel A LOT more grown up. I was working a full time internship, cooking my meals every night, taking little weekend trips with friends, and just all together just being fully independent. I even got to take a short trip to NYC for work, which felt very adult and corporate. In this way, I guess this summer was a preview of what independent adult life will be after college, which gets me excited!

Spending the summer away from home also meant that it was a fun chunk of time to spend with friends who also stayed in Georgetown. As an expat, I was used to going back to my home country for the summer and not running into friends until the next fall. But, being in Georgetown for the summer meant that I got to spend a lot of time with friends cooking dinner together, taking small trips, chilling at each others apartments, and exploring DC.

This summer was also great professionally, just being away from home in a space where I could focus on the work I was doing without a huge time difference and also pursue my other professional goals in the background. It was a time to focus on the other things that I don’t usually get to during the semester, which was a great opportunity.

I guess the lesson I’ve learned from this summer is that sometimes spending time in the same place but in a different “mode” can make it feel completely different. Maybe I’d recommend to every expat that if you truly want your new place to feel like home, not to run back to your home country every holiday, but instead to spend some time in the new place while in a different mindset. Let me know in the comments what you think!

See you next week,

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