The term 'foreigner' tends to have a negative connotation, at least in my neck of the woods. It's a term for someone who is in the States with somewhat questionable legality and someone whose English is usually not great. Right now, I'm the foreigner! I'm here, not speaking the language and taking jobs away from other Germans.
Jokes aside, this has been a great experience and I recommend it to anyone. The opportunity to realize that it's a big world out there - Europe isn't some mythical place; it isn't a movie or a romance novel. It's a place, like any other. Filled with all varieties of people. There are good things and bad things. Nice people and assholes and everyone in between. America isn't the center of the universe.
It's also been good for the empathy. A lot is made of 'speaking English' to people who immigrate to the USA. And I have to say, fuck that. I'm incredibly grateful that so many people in Europe speak English, that large chunks of the internet are in English. Because I suck at languages. And the people around me speak so many, I am in awe. At a recent lunch, the first question asked was, what language should we speak. But being in a country and not being fluent in the language? Terrifying. I'm worried I'll get in a conflict with a stranger on the street who doesn't speak English and my very limited German won't be sufficient. I'm worried I'll get stuck somewhere and won't know what's going on. This is a fear in general - not knowing the laws or customs well enough, getting in an accident and it being my fault.
And real talk: being in a country that you don't speak the language is not just scary, it's lonely. I'm mostly an introvert but I enjoy random small talk. Chatting with the cashier while checking out, making a joke with the stranger at the bus stop. It's quintessential Midwestern nice and I miss it. Not speaking the language fluently, I mostly just try to get through these interactions without belying my barely-speaking-German-American ass, hoping I don't come off as rude or a total bitch. I'm not someone who makes friends easily but, without speaking the language, I can barely make acquaintances.
I'm grateful for the year living abroad. It's made the world both smaller and bigger. It's made me grateful for being an English-speaking American, though I promise to continue working away at Duolingo once I return to the States; my language abilities are embarrassing. And my time abroad has also made me more empathetic with, and impressed by, those men and women who move to a foreign country.