Abroad: Expectations v. Reality

So you’re going abroad! Studying abroad is one of the most incredible opportunities anyone can have in college. Here at DU, we have a renowned program for exchange. 

For some students, this might be the first time they've ever left the country or the first time really navigating being on their own. Going into this experience many people have high hopes for the outcome of going abroad. Many students believe they’ll become more independent, mature or even more confident when speaking a new language or talking to new people. Some of us may take these expectations and try to live them to the fullest, others might just go with the flow.

After spending four to six months in a new country, these expectations begin to fade away as students focus on enjoying the moment. I personally expected to come home from New Zealand a new person, but I found that I haven’t changed exactly, I've just grown and unlocked parts of myself I hadn't yet seen. 

Although I may have not noticed changes in myself, many of my friends noticed a slight change in their abilities to feed themselves or navigate a new city on their own. I am still learning and growing every day after this incredible experience. 

Each person has a unique experience while abroad and it’s really important to focus on the new environment and situations you find yourself in. The goal of going abroad is to get what you want to learn out of the opportunity. At the end of the trip, you gain so much from the experience and these valuable life lessons and skills are unmatched to any other experience. 

To guarantee you have the best trip possible, try to limit your expectations and live your best life while you can.