Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Life > Experiences

Going Abroad: What You Lose and What You Gain

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

I couldn’t tell you if, upon receiving my acceptance letter to a semester-long abroad program for the Spring ‘22 semester, I felt more excited or absolutely sick to my stomach. I’ve wanted to study abroad in London since visiting for the first time as a young girl. Something about the city spoke to me; I have been in love with its winding streets and brick facades and coffee shops ever since. It’s a privilege to be able to study abroad, to live in someone else’s forever home, so that I can experience it in an educational and comfortable way. 

So why am I still, amongst this joy of fulfilling my dream, so sad to leave? I listen to my friends pick their courses and plan for events I won’t be here for. I look around on campus and know that daily college life will continue to exist without me; I don’t know what I am walking into, going abroad, but I am acutely aware of what I’m leaving behind. 

The essay prompt for my abroad application asked me, “How will your participation in the proposed study abroad program lead to intellectual, social, and personal growth?” What a strange question, I thought: how can I know how I’ll grow before I’ve even left? And I realized that accepting the grief for the time at Layette I know I’ll miss is the first step of my growth. I do know the experience I could have had this spring at Lafayette, but I can’t know the experience I will have in London yet. As I let the familiar go and embrace uncertainty, my journey has already begun. 

There will be a part of me that is devastated when I get on that plane to England, knowing that my roommates are moving back into our house without me, there are invisible spots in classes I would have chosen, and lunch dates I won’t get to make. But there is a flat and flatmates waiting for me in London, and seats in classrooms, and friends I haven’t met yet. There is a whole piece of my life waiting for me that I cannot even imagine yet. All I can do is lean into the wanderlust and trust that I will be okay, and I will grow. 

It’s okay to be sad when you diverge from the path that most of the people around you are walking. The road less traveled feels lonely at the first fork, but there is something new waiting at every intersection. I’m choosing to lean into these new experiences. It’s okay to think about what you will leave behind when you don’t know what you will gain. Choose discomfort anyway, even when it’s hard. I don’t know how I’ll grow by leaving home yet, but I do know that I will grow. I want to grow. That is enough for me.

Laura Bedser

Lafayette '23

Hey there! I'm Laura, an English Writing and Religious Studies double major at Lafayette College. When I'm not in class or at a club meeting, you can find me writing, reading, enjoying time with friends, or studying in my favorite sun-lit corner of Skillman Library.