Kenyon Culture Shock: Back From Abroad


In the midst of the rush of returning students, The Thrill brings you Thea Kohout’s ’14 experience of getting thrown back into the Kenyon bubble. 

Before I left my program in Cape Town, our program directors sat down with us and talked with us about the phenomenon of reverse culture shock, or the feeling of returning to your home culture after having become accustomed to a different one and experiencing culture shock all over again because of it. I didn’t put too much stock in this thing, though – I was excited to be coming home because I missed my family and Kenyon and my cats and American ketchup and Netflix—and I definitely should have. Because being back at Kenyon after my semester in South Africa is the epitome of reverse culture shock.
I missed this place while I was away, there’s no doubt about that. But when you’re away from a place, the first things you forget about are the things that used to annoy you, and you start totally romanticizing everything. Here are some things I forgot about in the eight months since I’ve been here:

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Notes From Abroad: Cape Town, South Africa

For years, the Collegian has spotlighted the ups and downs of off-campus study in “Notes from Abroad.” This week, we’re borrowing our print-edition parent company’s regular feature to bring you Thea Kohout ’14’s account of life in Cape Town.

Thea sent us this JPG titled "TheaNoFace." Sounds appropriate.

Kohout sent us this snapshot titled “TheaNoFace.” Sounds about right.

My time in South Africa is quickly — too quickly, if you ask me — drawing to a close. I’m leaving in a week, after a four-month stint in this country at the bottom of the world, and I cannot even begin to wrap my head around the fact that I’ll be thrust into an Ohio winter in about a month. As I write this, I’m wearing a tank top, cut-offs and no shoes as a sultry South African summer is in full swing all around me. I can’t even remember what my winter coat looks like at this point. Continue reading