Anytime one goes from one culture to another, people tend to learn at least a little something about themselves as well as others. There is no guarantee that what one learns is good or sad and bad.
For my own part, when I spent time in England, what I had in mind aside from making progress on my studies and doing some work and travel, was to find out a little more who I would feel that I am when immersed into another culture. For some reason, perhaps due to the same language or my own identifications with my English ancestors esp. the female ones or because the language is mostly the same, I was afraid of losing my identity but thought I might find a little more about what my subjective truth is like – much like holding a gem or piece of cut glass up to different lights. It is the same thing no matter what.
With Germany, especially due to the language difference and a few other factors I noticed that I feel more defensive about my identity. I am not sure why, but it may stem from identifying with the English language. It may be because I did not enter the country on ‘a program’.
Regardless of the country, unless one is a short term visitor or on a fixed program people in other countries tend to make one or two assumptions. One is to assume that whoever is foreign should or is trying to become a citizen – is an immigrant. The other main assumption is that the person is a short term visitor who needs to leave. In some circles international activity is valued highly and even advertised as something good, but often enough people do not react very well to foreigners or to being foreign.