Just got back from study abroad? Struggling to express your transcendental experience with words? Need a great closer for your travel blog? Consider AWOL’s handy, travel-sized abroad experience template to deflect the onslaught of nosy inquiries from friends and family. Just follow the steps below and let AWOL provide the informative, detailed, and sometimes condescending description for you!
First, pick the location that best describes where you went (if it’s someplace too obscure, don’t worry—it’ll fit somewhere):
European city Middle Eastern country China/India Failing state Africa
Next, just circle whichever option in the narrative fits your unique experience the best:
“Hey! So I just got back from being abroad! My trip was so [rewarding • amazing • life-changing] and gave me so many important [perspectives • life-lessons • new experiences]. It’s tough to describe because it’ll be hard for you to [understand • relate to • sit through the story of] the fantastic trip I had. Life was so different there.
In the United States, our lives are stressed and hectic, but there they focused on the important things like [culture • overthrowing governments • staying alive]. I wasn’t anxious about my schoolwork like I am at home because there, learning isn’t about grades or papers. It’s about the experience. I studied so many new subjects like [art • Marxism • Molotov cocktail hurling].
I spent my nights roaming the [cities • dorm halls • pastures] instead of the AU Library. My fellow Eagles and I reflected on our encounters with culture over local favorites served from [Pierre • Ahmed • Comrade Igor], the friendly server at the [pub • hookah bar • Starbucks café] nearby. There we could even drink alcohol, because to them, our maturity isn’t reflected by the age on our [license • passport • fake ID]. We took so many amazing [weekend excursions • safaris • pub crawls] throughout the area, something we aren’t able to do in the United States because Americans don’t care about [public transportation • culture • young people]. Here, all we needed to do was hop on a [train • bus • Sherpa], and we could be encountering a totally different culture and meeting new people. Try experiencing that in the United States!
I spent most of my free time doing my best to immerse myself in the culture. I often admired the [magnificent cathedrals • exotic mosques • quaint grass huts] from [the top decks of tour buses • the backs of alpacas • my computer’s GoogleEarth application]. It was difficult to adapt to many different things, especially [the language barrier • the scarcity of snacks • mosquito nets]. I always got the feeling that people there were so much happier with their [democratically elected government • socialist regime • tyrant] than we are because they love parades! Sometimes people get so excited that the [street cleaners • police • national army] have to [clean up big messes • push the crowd back • shoot off fireworks]!
I spent a lot of time shopping for [authentic • hand-made • mass-produced]souvenirs of national significance like [scarves • tapestries • key chains].
Everyone there was so interesting, and it’s amazing how they [speak English all the time • get by without English • arrest me every time I speak English]. I know the opinion is that people there are really [elitist • lazy • impoverished], but I know now that they are really [intellectual • cheery • oppressed]. Even though I lived in [a dorm with other Americans • an apartment complex for students • a hostel], whenever we ventured outside, we were always really [outgoing • engaging • obnoxious] and willing to meet new people. I feel like I’ll never be the same until I walk those [cobblestone streets • venues of the local bazaar • cowpaths] again, where the people just seem to understand me better and the culture is so much [richer • poorer]. My experience was so [original • extraordinary • personal] and life-changing, that if you go, I’m sure you’ll have the same great experience.”
Illustration by Hannah Karl.