Abroad Lesson #2: Learning to Become Independent

Most juniors in college, such as myself, typically consider themselves fairly independent. We've survived two years at college, sleeping in dorms, eating cafeteria food, and not having your parents around to fix every issue. Going abroad would be the same would require the same level of independence, or so I thought.

Yes, living in a dorm without your parents and any adults seems like you need to be independent, but it is nothing compared to living in an apartment in a city 4,000 miles away where you do not understand the language that is commonly spoken. I am responsible for my own meals every day, whether I want to attempt to cook or go out and buy something for dinner. There is no cafeteria that I can swipe in to where I can grab food as I please. Similar to college back home I am responsible for getting myself to class and attending, but what is not so similar is that my classes are no longer a five minute walk away. If I want to walk to class I need to leave my apartment between an hour to forty-five minutes before class. If I want to take public transportation that is a whole different story, because it's not the most reliable so I still have to leave an hour before class.

Unlike if I was living in a dorm, I do not have someone who regularly cleans my bathroom or takes out the garbage; it is all on me. I've found that there are so many simple tasks, that because I now have to do them are forcing me to be more independent and mature.

Being abroad makes you learn to be independent because you are without the safety night that you have back at college. You are even more responsible for your own actions and I know if I make a mistake I am the one to blame. If I were to get pick pocketed it would be because I was not watching over my stuff properly. I have to be more cautious while out drinking because I am in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people.

Learning to be independent abroad has also taught me that it is okay to do things on my own. If I want to go to an art museum by myself, there is no issue with that and the same goes for eating a meal. I am more comfortable doing things on my own because I am finally doing what I want to be doing. 

There is no doubt in my mind that living in a foreign country and studying abroad teaches you how to become the most independent version of yourself.