What is your name, major, class year?
I am Kelly Grebeck. I am an English and Publishing & Editing double major in the class of 2016.
Where did you GO, when, and why?
I went to Brighton, England for the fall semester of 2014. I chose Brighton because I have always wanted to go to England, but not necessarily London. Brighton seemed like a wonderful and beautiful city that I knew I could fall in love with. It is just close enough to London and the fact that it’s a beach town really sold me on wanting to go there.
Did you ever end up celebrating your 21st birthday the traditional American way when you got back? If so, what did you do?
I didn’t really get the chance to celebrate my 21st birthday when coming home to America because, at the time, most of my friends at home were under 21. I guess I celebrated a bit by going to the casino with my family where I ended up winning $20. However, for my friend’s 21st birthday in February, we kind of did a double celebration at one of the bars for me. I did not really have an official 21st birthday celebration that was just for me, though.
Do you still stay in touch with the friends you made in England?
Although it is difficult due to time differences and busy lives, I do try to talk to them every once in a while, even if it’s just a random post on the Facebook group page we made. There are some people with whom I kept better in touch than others. Sadly I don’t get to talk to any of them nearly as much as I want. Nothing can compare to seeing them and talking to them every single day.
Did you get homesick for England when you got home?
It didn’t quite feel like I was home at first. I almost felt like I was on just another weekend trip and I would be back in Brighton within a couple days. When it really hit me that I was home for good, I felt horrible. Going back to work at Weis after being abroad was the absolute worst. All I wanted was to go back to Brighton. I still want to go back. While the homesickness has died down after settling into my routine here, I still feel it occasionally. When I see some of my friends post pictures on Facebook of what they are doing that night or when the Ukulele Society that I joined posts about a gig I feel it the most. I made more of a home for myself there than I ever expected and I just was not prepared to leave it behind. I don’t think anything could have prepared me to leave so much behind.
Interview by Courtney Radel and Julia Raffel