Odds are at some point in your Arcadia career, you’ll have an international experience. The longer the trip, the more opportunities you have to immerse yourself in a foreign culture — and the more likely you are to suffer from a case of those dreaded post-abroad blues.
After returning from four phenomenal months in London, this oh-so-common Arcadia affliction struck me with vengeance. All summer, I struggled to readjust to Glenside’s cozy, tranquil atmosphere. Try as I might to put a halt to my endless reminiscing, it seemed that nothing in my domestic life could to hold a candle to the glamor and adventure of Europe.
I knew I couldn’t lie around moping, expecting adventure to come to me. I had to do something to jolt myself out of the torpor. But what could a sleepy suburb hold that would help me shake off my growing listlessness?
I spent most of the summer fruitlessly searching Philadelphia. Despite the range of wonderful experiences you can find in the City of Brotherly Love, I found myself comparing every activity to what I could be doing— if only I was still abroad. I tried to console myself with hobbies, particularly practicing yoga. I’d developed an interest years ago, when I took one of the classes Arcadia offers. My abundance of free time in London allowed me to hone an independent practice. I used a free app to generate sequences, and quickly discovered just how much I loved the meditative exercise. Back in Glenside, it became a channel of release for my restlessness, posing a physical challenge as well as an opportunity to expand my knowledge of East Asian culture.
Ironically, it was through this practice of looking inward that I finally found my external solution for those pesky post-abroad blues: Dana Hot Yoga.
An often-overlooked Glenside gem, this intimate studio is tucked away on Mt. Carmel, just across the street from the Glenside train station. Although I’d taken a few drop-in classes (they offer a student discount), the hefty price tag had always kept me from buying a full membership. Then, just weeks before the school year started, I learned about their work exchange program.
It’s as simple as it sounds: In return for an hour (or less) spent doing odd jobs around the studio, I can attend a class free of charge.
A full vinyasa session held at a sweltering 95 degrees (the idea being to mimic the tropical conditions of India) might not sound all that appealing. Even without the heat, yoga’s certainly a challenging workout. Yet I emerge from each class feeling powerful, rejuvenated, and strangely at peace. It’s as if the stresses of student life— and that seemingly unshakeable post-abroad lethargy— ooze out of my pores alongside all the sweat.
Granted, pursuing my interest in yoga isn’t as thrilling as jetting off to Paris for a weekend or hiking through the British countryside. But the practice challenges me to focus my energy inward, helping me find balance (literally and figuratively) as I reintegrate with the Arcadia community. Practicing with a community of yogis has also dramatically expanded my understanding of the cultural components involved with a well-rounded practice, where spirituality and individuality intersect.
Yoga hasn’t cured all my post-abroad woes. I still miss London and the freedom that comes with studying abroad. But with a bit of persistence, I’ve found a way to pursue a passion while brightening my outlook on the semester. Now, I’m starting my senior year armed with an enriching hobby, stronger body, and clearer mind. Not bad for the suburbs.