Roya Firoozbakhsh, Germany

After seeing eight countries and eighteen different cities, I am finally back in Vancouver. I was quite sad to say goodbye to my apartment, friends, and my favorite city, Berlin. It was definitely a mixed feeling between excitement to see my family, especially my brother whom I had not seen for two years and his new wife; and sadness at leaving Berlin. 

When I returned to Vancouver, I immediately had a wedding to go to and I experienced right away a major culture shock. I hadn’t dressed up, worn heels, or done my hair or make up in ages. Berlin in particular is not a place for any of that. Unlike Vancouver, Berlin was very simple: people there don’t ever wear high heels or care much about being fancy. Therefore, I felt uncomfortable being at the wedding. I didn’t even feel like I was myself, and it was very strange for me to feel that way.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed staying at home and being with my family. This was something that I never used to do unless it was a Sunday (family day). I turned down every invitation from my friends, but still had so much fun with my family. I believe that’s what I missed the most when I was abroad, the warmth of my house, the feeling of unconditional love and support in the house. I’m glad I didn’t notice this feeling when I was abroad because it would have made things that much more difficult. As an update, I have decided that once I finish my degree I may try and move to Berlin for a more long-term plan. I understand leaving my family is going to be difficult, but at least this time, there’s no fear of doing everything by myself. 

By: Roya Firoozbakhsh, winner of the Stories from Abroad: British Columbia Study Abroad Scholarship

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