A once in a lifetime opportunity. That’s how people often describe their study abroad experiences. While you do have your whole life to travel, studying abroad is a different way of experiencing what the world has to offer. Having just returned from four months in Europe, I feel inspired and refreshed. I was able to absorb various aspects of life over these past few months, being fully immersed in constant change. Finding the right program for you may take time, but will ultimately be so worth it. This blog article will share my top five reasons why every student should study abroad.
# 5 – Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Traveling isn’t always easy, especially when you travel in large groups of travelers with different habits. You’ll spend time scheduling trips that may not go as planned, and that’s okay. While you’ll be taking classes during your time studying abroad, you’ll likelylearn more from your experiences outside of the classroom. You may pick up on certain words of a new language. The people will make your trip special – those you travel with regularly and the people you meet along the way. Locals will ask you thought-provoking questions about America. Your perspective and outlook on life may change.
# 4 – Get to Know Yourself Better
You will learn how to handle different situations, figure out how to overcome challenges and understand how to deal with new circumstances – sometimes on very little sleep. You’ll continually be on your feet as you aim to “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints”. Some long nights may be followed by early mornings, but even the lightest sleepers learn to squeeze in some rest on planes, trains, and automobiles! Most of all, you will learn how you react in new situations.
# 2 – Accept New Challenges
Sometimes I feel like we automatically say “no” to certain opportunities. It’s natural to be intimidated by extreme changes in environment and culture. Lucky for me, almost everyone I met overseas spoke some English, even if it was broken or blanketed in a thick accent. Otherwise, there are multiple resources to make communication easier when it comes to language barriers. I found the best way was oftentimes simply a smile.
# 1 – Give Yourself the Chance to Grow
Think about the last time you did something new. Did your perceptions meet reality? In the beginning it can be intimidating, but feelings of excitement will likely begin to fill inside of you. The unknowns often seem to present an energy like no other. While some of our weekend trips were short, we made the most of each adventure. Our minds dined on tapas — small tastes of each destination. After completing my travels, I tried to understand what I particularly enjoyed about each destination by recalling what aspects I enjoyed the most so I know where I want to go visit again.
Four months flew by quickly and my greatest piece of advice is to you is to take advantage of each moment. The calm times and the hectic moments running through train stations are all fun memories as I look back. Change is a good thing. Now is the time to better figure out what you like and what you don’t like when it comes to travel. Seeing different environments may spark an interest that you never knew you had. Whether your program is two weeks or for a full year, you’ll gain key takeaways that you can implement into your daily life at home.