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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FIT chapter.

I arrived at JFK Airport traveling in the backseat of my parents’ car. The summer sun was shining as I gathered my belongings and headed inside, my heart palpitating. I was catching a 20 + hour flight to Queensland, Australia – alone. Only flying within the country by myself previously, I knew this time walking through the terminal would be different. My life was about to change and I could feel the adventure waiting ahead with smiling eyes. Leaving behind the world as I knew it, family, friends, and of course, New York. There was a new side of life waiting to be discovered across the world. It was Australia – sunny, beautiful Australia.

I had enrolled in a five-month school program and could not wait to taste the independence and freedom that came with it. The journey to the other side of the world consisted of seemingly endless flights, navigating terminals, lost baggage, and running through the crowded airports to make the next flight. It was worth it. Being forced out of my comfort zone, this flight would lead to an adventure that would change my life forever.

While abroad I learned so much. When you’re faced with the situation of being in a place where nobody knows your name and you don’t have the support system that you do at home, you’re forced to find out more about yourself. It isn’t just a journey to a new place, it’s a journey within yourself as well. I learned things from being in a position where you don’t necessarily have anything to fall back on, everything is new, with no previous knowledge or relationships to depend on.

I learned so much about myself that I never even knew existed. Newfound confidence, passions, and awareness flooded my life. When you put yourself out there one thing is for sure: fortune favors the bold. Navigating foreign streets with new friends, learning new slang at coffee shops, a new perspective. I began to see the world with new eyes, eyes that you take with you back home. Experiences are a treasure that is not tangible, yet so priceless. Living abroad showed me a new insight, there is beauty in feeling small in a world there is still so much to learn about. It challenged everything I knew about life.

My confidence grew tremendously and my self-awareness was heightened as well. I truly recommend that everybody who wants to is able to find time to live abroad, & watch their self-confidence transform.

Jillian Marotta is a native New Yorker, raised on Long Island. She has a love for travel, having lived abroad in Cambodia, Thailand and Australia. She currently resides in New York, studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.