What I Learned From Studying Abroad

The week before my semester abroad in Israel, I was absolutely terrified. I was excited to be immersed in a completely new culture, but my head was full with worries. At home, if something went wrong, I had a safety net in the form of an amazing support system. While abroad, I would have to be my own support system. However, looking back on my pre-Israel anxiety now, I laugh at myself a little bit. Being abroad and being completely self-reliant has been a once in a lifetime experience and I would not give it up for the world. It has taught me so much about myself and about life.

 

 

I learned that I really don't need so much. When I was packing for Israel, I was so worried about not having enough clothes, accessories, and beauty products. This seems so silly to me now. If anything, I brought way too many things with me. When I arrived, I had an opportunity to buy anything I couldn't bring.

I learned that, if you put yourself out there, you can make friends anywhere. I was extremely concerned about not being able to make friends and being alone while abroad. However, my first week, I mingled with a lot of different people and gained an amazing friend group, and even made some best friends for life.

I learned that your relationships at home don't have to suffer just because you're abroad. Skype and FaceTime became my best friends while I was abroad. I would keep in contact with friends and family constantly through these apps. I missed everyone at home, but I still felt connected to them.

I learned that living on a budget while abroad is possible. Money was definitely a concern for me while I was abroad. I had saved up myself so I needed to stick to a budget. This budget turned out to be extremely reasonable and I did not feel like I missed out on any aspect of the abroad experience.

I learned to never turn down an opportunity to try something new. The most memorable parts of my abroad experience happened when I was least expecting them. I would be out at night and, all of a sudden, I would be swept up in local cultures that I never even knew existed. This taught me to never say no when offered a new experience. Without this, I would have never had the best falafel of my life; I wouldn't have spent a Saturday night with an Israeli family in the Old City of Jerusalem; I would have never ended up on the Mediterranean Sea at 6 a.m. to watch the sunrise. These experiences are what made my abroad experience the amazing adventure that it was. If I had simply said "no" they never would have happened.