The University of Iowa

Home again, Study Abroad Blog Post

January 21st, 2015

My family and I enjoying Switzerland.

By Emily Archer

Emily is officially back in Iowa!

After 28 hours in airports and airplanes – with little to no sleep – I made it not to home, but to a nice comfy hotel. Little did I know when I was buying my plane ticket home back in July that I would get caught in Iowa’s first big snowstorm of 2015. Had I gone back a day earlier or a day later, I would have gotten home just fine!

I still got home just fine, but a day later after spending way too long in an airport. I think the best part about the whole situation (if there was a best part) was that as soon as I touched down in Chicago, I was running around all over the place, through customs, to my airline desk, to someplace with food ($7 USD for a tiny frozen pizza, by the way) and I did it all in ENGLISH.


There was so much English being spoken it was overwhelming – coupled with the fact that I was running on maybe four hours of sleep – and it was quite an adjustment for me to realize that I could actually understand what these people were saying. It was like drinking water from a bottle and then suddenly someone’s filled it with tea or Coke and you take a sip and your brain takes five extra seconds to realize that it’s tea or Coke, not water.

My analogies are not top shelf today.

I realize that a whole month of travels has not been documented on this blog, and I think I could spend a week writing about it and still not have all of my adventures blog-documented. After school got out, I traveled to Prague and Budapest with a couple of friends, and then I traveled back to Spain to meet my mom and brother in Madrid. We then headed over to Switzerland, and stayed with family for a week and spent Christmas with them. I had an amazing time, and as always, my determination to learn French has grown tenfold.

Hey, I got Spanish out of the way, so French is next!

After eating a ton of cheese and chocolate in Switzerland, we headed back to Sevilla so I could show my mom and brother where I had been living for the past three and a half months. I got to see my host mom one more time, and we both were trying our best not to cry. My family and I got to soak in a little sun and warmth before heading back to Iowa (where 40 degrees is t-shirt weather.) I said my last goodbyes to the city I called home, and then we left the next morning to Iowa.

So here I am, back in good ol’, really col'(d) Iowa.

I will miss you, Sevilla.

I’ve already had people ask me “How was it?” or every other question people ask when you’ve been gone for four months (“Did you find a boyfriend?”). I didn’t realize how hard it would be to answer those questions.

All I can say is “It was an amazing experience”, and that’s not a lie, but that really can’t even sum up the half of it. It wasn’t just an experience, it was a mind-blowing roller coaster ride of emotions –life-changing. I got to see so many places, I got to meet so many people, where do I even begin to tell people my favorite place? Can I tell people that sometimes I hated it? Or sometimes I seriously considered never coming home?

Someone did ask the perfect question though.

“Was it worth it?”

It allowed me to explain all of my feelings about my study abroad experience in one word:


A million times over, yes. I am so glad to be home, but I’m so glad I went. As I settle in for the next semester, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I’ll be learning everything in English, that I won’t be able to make weekend trips to Portugal or Morocco. I’ll have to adjust to this “normal” life I have back here. I think I’ve done pretty well so far. There’s a lot of responsibility back on my shoulders again, but in true Spanish fashion, I will sit around drinking tea and coffee and work it all out as they come along. No pasa nada.

Sevilla, no me ha dejado, y nunca te olvidaré – Sevilla has not left me, and I will never forget it.

Emily Archer is a junior majoring in Journalism with a minor in Spanish at the University of Iowa. She recently returned from the CIEE Seville Communications, New Media and Journalism Program in Seville, Spain.

Take a look at Emily's personal travel blog here.