Diary of a study abroad student

Taken from the private journal of Susan Smith, a W&L student currently studying abroad in the UK. Reader discretion is advised.

Dear Diary,

Lately I’ve been feeling something taking root inside me, festering, rotting me from within. It’s like I’m slowly becoming something other that myself, something dark, something…European. 

The mere sight of clothing items not in neutral tones burns my eyes. I catch myself scoffing at women in puffer jackets instead of pea coats. Just yesterday, I gave a 20-minute lecture to my flatmate about how the weather here isn’t “cold as shit;” she’s just weak. It took exactly two weeks for me to adapt an unplaceable Euro accent. My playlist has converted completely from the stylings of Lizzo and Cardi B to Mozart’s incomparable Symphony No. 4, Little Mix, and a new genre that I can only describe as electronic whining for the club.

I fear that when I am forced back to “the States,” my friends, family, and even my former self will all be strangers to me. How is this newfound woman of the world to return to the everyday drone of sensibly-priced produce, frat god culture, and widespread central heating systems? I have found an unlikely home in these drafty, stone buildings that has allowed me to evolve into my own romanticized ideal. I drink wine with every meal. I practice yoga. I make out with men with accents and diverse wardrobes. 

What is to become of me? The person I once was is no more. In the past seven weeks, I have transcended the American being I used to be and become…elevated. The only light I can see in the inevitable tunnel of darkness that is my return to the U.S. is the knowledge that I will be able to preach my experiences to all. One woman may not be enough to change the entirety of American culture, but that can’t stop me from trying. Just follow the sounds of my, “actually, in Europe they…” and you just might find enlightenment, too.

CB ’23