The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Hawks fly home

Students describe their transition after studying abroad

Emily Graham ’20 co-wrote this story.

Students who went abroad last semester have returned to campus after being away from Hawk Hill since May. While exciting, the transition back to campus can be difficult for some students.

We asked students to reflect on their experience returning to campus this semester.


“It’s a strange adjustment, but it is also really nice to see everyone and get back in the swing of things. My experience studying abroad was completely different from a university in the U.S. I was living alone in a massive city and commuting to school everyday, taking my classes and then going back home. But being back here, it is simply like being back at college because that experience was just something completely different. Overall, it has been a positive experience being back.”      

– Nat Gallen ’20, studied in Santiago, Chile


“The challenges I was faced with were nothing like I ever would have imagined. I was blindsided with whatever came my way and I learned how to handle it. I’m learning to let go of the anxiety that consumes me and remind myself that everything happens for a reason. Mental health was never a priority before I realized how much better I became when I focused on my happiness. People keep asking me if I miss it, but for now I am very content with being back home at St. Joe’s.”

– Dani Schmidt ’20, studied in Vienna, Austria


“I expected to be able to quickly adjust to the culture of St. Joe’s but it has actually been more of a challenge than I anticipated. Since I was only engaged in academics for half of the time, returning to a full-time academic workload is a challenge. I met a lot of amazing people and connected with many children in South Africa who taught me about the joyful beauty of life. Missing these people has been part of readjusting to campus life but I am happy to bring the new outlooks they taught me to St. Joe’s.”

– Molly Whitson ’20, studied in Cape Town, South Africa


“Adjusting back to SJU from studying abroad in China was a little difficult. A lot has changed here on campus. I am getting the hang of Canvas and how classes are here again. Some of my friends made new friends while abroad and here on campus, so it can be difficult to see where you fit into these new relationships with people. There are some things I miss from studying abroad, like food and friends. I am still adjusting a little, but I am glad to be back here at SJU.”

– Nick Warpinski ’20, studied in Beijing, China


“I didn’t realize that it would definitely be a transition back in life in the U.S. I found myself comparing everything to Spain and was always wondering what I would have been doing at this time if I was in Spain. While it still was an adjustment coming back onto campus and seeing all the changes that happened in one semester—the new Saxbys, the changes to Starbucks, hearing about the student protests, finding my favorite spot in the library again, seeing all the new freshmen—it was definitely so refreshing to see familiar faces again and be reunited back on Hawk Hill.”

– Stephanie Crispell ’20, studied in Madrid, Spain


“It has been both exciting and challenging acclimating to life back at St. Joe’s. One of the most valuable lessons I learned during my time in Copenhagen was the importance of breaking out of routine, and growing through saying “yes” to new experiences and opportunities. In taking a hiatus from my commitments at St. Joe’s, I was able to spend more time focusing on what excites me and what I am passionate about. Now being back, it can be difficult to find time for these passions amid the busyness in the everyday life at St. Joe’s. While it’s been difficult, it’s already been an amazing growth opportunity in adapting to life back on campus, where I have to seek out my friendships and passions with greater purpose. St. Joe’s has been and will always be my home, and right now it’s just figuring out what that means to me at this point in my collegiate career.”

– Mark Bernstiel ’20, studied in Copenhagen, Denmark



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