10 Things I Learned from Studying Abroad

Back at it again with a study abroad post!

Hang in there with me, friends. I’m at a high right now and I just need this blog as a way for me express myself and my experiences. A lot of loved ones have also been asking me to share my experiences, so I am back!

Being abroad has taught me a lot of lessons. Here’s a list of the ten that stood out to me the most:

1. Airports aren’t all that bad

If you know me, airports give me a lot of anxiety. The traffic, the long lines at security, the massive terminals. I used to always need to get there like two hours before because I always had a fear I’d get stopped by security, can’t find my gate, and ultimately, miss my flight. You’d think I’d be used to it already, having to take back and forth flights from San Diego to the Bay all the time. Nope, I hated airports. Flying every weekend all over Europe has allowed me to get over that airport anxiety. Going through the process every week just made me it easier for me to get used to it.

2. It’s okay to travel solo

Can’t stress this enough. I always used to think I needed to stay with the group because I was scared to go alone. I always used to think I needed to just travel with anyone who would be down. This trip has taught me sometimes you just got to go out on your own and do whatever the fuck you want. It’s important to carefully choose who your travel with. Ooh, I learned this the hard way. Make sure to outline the different activities y’all are interested in and know it’s okay to do your own thing. You gotta do what you gotta do! Don’t stress yourself out having to do every single thing everyone else wants to do. I found the most peace whenever I’d go out alone and simply walk around to enjoy the sights around me. Don’t get me wrong, I was terrified the first time I had to find my way around by myself, but yo girl did it and made it home in one piece. Grab your GPS/map and you’re set to go anywhere on your own.

3. Embrace and respect cultural differences

You’re going to be doing a lot of different, foreign things abroad, buddy. Make sure to have an open mind and take in all that you learn. The way others live may not be the way you’re used to, but it’s important to always be respectful of that. You may not follow the same practices or have the same beliefs, but it’s important to be mindful of others ALL THE TIME.

4. The world truly does NOT revolve around the U.S.

Honestly, truly. We forget that since we’re like … American. It’s all that we know. Don’t expect to go to another country and think everyone is going to speak English or treat you nicely. Basically, being American isn’t the coolest thing ever.

5. You are smart and strong. You can conquer anything

You made it abroad! You went through the long, grueling process of applying and preparing for the semester/quarter. Keep a good mindset and know that you can thrive even when you’re away from home. You are capable and I know you can survive. It’s going to be rough at times, but know that you’re going to get through this experience stronger than ever. Get ready to grow and glow A LOT.

6. Appreciate small victories

This is a big one. I remember being able to figure out the Metro was such a big thing for me. Getting on the right train felt so good. Picking up some French, being able to read and understand street signs and menus was such an accomplishment. I appreciated every small victory and it just gave me more confidence in myself to keep going.

7. Just shut up and go

Keep that “down” attitude abroad. It’ll give you the best stories and adventures. Honestly, the impulse decisions I made were probably the best decisions I have made on this trip. Just saying yes in traveling to different places resulted in the best adventures. Just saying yes to watching the sunset at the Eiffel Tower before a big quiz the next day was probably the best mission I pulled in Paris. Just saying yes to trying out Escargot was probably the best foodie move I made this summer. Honestly, sometimes you just got to put your things down and just go.

8. Stop and just take in your surroundings

Don’t get me wrong. I probably took hundreds of pictures on this trip. However, no picture or video can beat the actual experience of being at the actual place. Remember to be in the moment. You don’t have to record every single thing you do. Take in the view. Take your time eating that meal. Don’t take out your camera during that concert. Just sit and look around and enjoy what you see. Nothing can beat the real thing.

9. It’s okay to miss home. Keep your relationships close

It’s okay to get homesick. I tried not to the first two weeks, but homesickness hit hard halfway through the program. It’s okay. Keep your relationships close to you. Take the time to video call your family and let them know you are doing okay. Text and snapchat your friends, they miss you too.

10. The world is yours

This is the most important lesson of it all. Go experience the world. It is yours to go out and explore. You deserve to see it. You deserve to experience it. You deserve to live it.

Studying abroad was definitely one of the highlights of my college career and I am so glad I made the decision to do it.

It’s true– You learn the most outside of the classroom.

Sincerely,

kaithleen1 (2)

 

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