How Studying Abroad Changed My Life

From the title, you can probably tell how this article is going to go. This summer, I had the privilege of studying abroad in London through the College of General Studies Boston-London program.

Essentially, I came to Boston University for my spring semester and did a summer semester in London, which allowed me to stay on top of my stuff and be a sophomore my second year of college.

So, Boston was a little terrifying, I’ll be honest. It’s hard when you don’t really know anyone and you’re in an unfamiliar place, but then came the fun part: London!

Photo by Kirthana Iyer

This was my first time ever going to Europe, which I had always dreamed of. Studying London’s rich history, watching Harry Potter, reading Shakespearean literature, and seeing the beautiful castles in Kensington had been actual dreams of mine since I was in sixth grade. So, this was everything I could have ever hoped for and more.

I reached London on the day of the royal wedding, WHAT A CONCEPT I KNOW. I was overwhelmed with excitement. All the stores were decorated for the royal wedding – it was beautiful. 

We lived in South Kensington which was absolutely gorgeous, so we were at the center of everything “posh.” It was so beautiful. I got to know a few people while I was in Boston this spring and after this summer, I couldn’t imagine my life without them. I remember my dad telling me, “Your college friends are your life friends,” and honestly, he could not have said it better.

That’s one way study abroad changed my life: it allowed me to trust. I struggled at trusting people when I was in high school, but when you’re in a foreign place with people you mildly know, you grow to trust quicker. You don’t have anything that’s familiar, so you make a family. You make a home. And that’s what I did. I made a home with my friends and that’s how we made it through the hard times of stress-eating and exams, and through the fun times, where we would hop on the tube and go wherever we wanted after picking up a samosa from the Gloucester station, of course.

Another way it changed my life was independence. I know I moved across the country for college and that was a bold move marking my independence. But, I don’t think you really understand independence until you really can’t go home for the weekend. You have to grow up and be your own person. If you’re struggling, you have to pick yourself up and move forward. That’s something I don’t think I could have learned in Boston. I couldn’t just call my mom when it was 4 AM for her but afternoon meltdown time for me. I had to grow up. I had to be independent. While my friends and I helped each other along the way, we all grew up in our own ways whether it was emotionally, psychologically, or physically. We all changed and became better for it.

Finally, studying abroad taught me that it is okay to explore! We are all young adults and we’re still figuring out what we want to do with our lives. Studying abroad taught me that it is okay to feel a little lost at times as long as you know you want to go somewhere. That’s why you’re in college. But, learning to trust your new college family and asking for help is how you move in the right direction. No one ever said college was going to be easy, but it is possible with a little support along the way. Keep exploring, see what the world has to offer you. Being in London and going through the stress of school along with the intrigue of adventure taught me that I have so much left to explore in both my academic career and in my life.

London was truly one of the best experiences of my life. I don’t think I would trade it for anything else. I found my family on campus, people I love and trust with my whole heart, and I learned to be my own person. Not many people can say that after finishing their freshman year of college. But I’m glad to say that I can.

 

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