In college there is a world of opportunity waiting for you through study abroad, as it can be one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences you have during your college career. Studying abroad provides you with the chance to explore unfamiliar surroundings and immerse yourself in a different culture.
This past fall I studied abroad in Leicester, England. Being over 3,000 miles away from home I was nervous, excited and anxious all at once. I was required to adjust to a new country on my own, but it was an experience that taught me so much. Besides gaining knowledge inside the classroom, studying abroad also gives each person a unique experience in which they can learn and grow outside the classroom. This is what I learned from my time studying abroad.
To take advantage of every opportunity I am given
Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity and is something that should be experienced to the fullest. It’s not everyday that you get to say you live in a foreign country, so take advantage of it! While I may have been studying in England, I made sure to say yes to every trip I could. By planning trips to other cities and countries such as Budapest, Edinburgh, Amsterdam and London, I was able to immerse myself in new cultures, navigate new streets and meet new people.
To not be afraid to try something new
It can be tough adjusting to a new country. The language, food and lifestyle can be completely foreign, but it’s important to not let these unfamiliar things hold you back. In England I tried new cuisines, took part in regional traditions and customs and met locals in every town I visited. With each day I grew more fascinated by the new culture and eager to see what I could try next.
To know that it’s okay to get lost
Navigating new cities and public transportation systems can be very, very confusing, and getting lost is inevitable. However, getting lost can actually be one of the best ways to explore a new city. It’s these unexpected events that can make the best stories. Some of my favorite memories involved taking spontaneous day trips on my own, where I was able to discover places I wouldn’t normally, as well as talk to locals and learn more about the areas. Getting off one stop too early or taking a wrong turn can actually lead to something you would have never found before.
To have greater faith in myself
When finding your way through international airports and navigating the streets of a foreign country, you begin to realize that you are more resourceful than you ever knew. Studying abroad allowed me to have a greater sense of independence and confidence, two things I never had much of before. I learned new subway and bus systems, how to get around cities where English isn’t the first language and the importance of getting to know people I never would have talked to before. Living on my own for three months in several new environments made me realize that I can do a lot more than I ever let myself believe.
To be proud of my accomplishments
Studying abroad can teach you so much about not only travel, but also about yourself. Choosing to take part in this experience required me to be both confident in my travel abilities and independent in my decisions. I adjusted to new cultures and countries, while also pushing myself to think differently as a student with unfamiliar class structures and styles of teaching. At the end of 95 days I managed to travel to 19 cities and visit four countries, all while completing three academic courses. Looking back I am truly amazed by everything I accomplished and the strength that I managed to find within myself. I learned to push myself both academically and socially, while also eliminating any feelings of self-doubt that I once had.
The valuable experience of studying abroad provided me with countless memories and life lessons. My journey allowed me to have the wonderful opportunities of meeting people from all over the world, traveling to amazing places and growing as a thinker, communicator and explorer. Studying abroad didn’t just teach me about the world, but it also taught me about myself and what I am capable of achieving.
Feature image source: thisgirlabroad.com
MOIRA IS A 22-YEAR-OLD BALTIMORE NATIVE WHO IS CURRENTLY STUDYING PUBLIC RELATIONS AT ST. JOHN’S UNIVERSITY IN NEW YORK AND SOON TO BE GRADUATING. HER PASSIONS INCLUDE TRAVELING, FOOD, MUSIC, FASHION AND WRITING. SHE’S A POP CULTURE ENTHUSIAST AND SOCIAL MEDIA JUNKIE. YOU CAN FIND HER EXPLORING NEW YORK CITY IN SEARCH OF THE PERFECT INSTAGRAM SHOT.