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5 Things I Learned About Myself While Studying Abroad

They always say that while you’re abroad, you learn a lot about yourself. So here’s my list of things I’ve learned. Some things are smaller than others, but all of these realizations now shape the person that I am. I have my study abroad experience to thank for that.

My Body Needs Sleep

The first thing I realized is that I need to sleep. Though this may sound small, I realized that at home I run myself too often on too little sleep… which explains why my immune system is complete crap and I always feel way too sick. While in Spain I really focused on always making sure to get my eight hours and I could feel the difference. My body and mind were happier and more energetic at all times.

I like the aisle seats on airplanes

As tiny as this is to know about myself, it feels like a big thing to know when it’s 4am and you’re on a 9 hour plane ride home and have to use the bathroom for the 5th time… and your seat neighbor is sleeping solidly. I will always opt for the aisle seat from now on!

I smile forced in pictures instead of showing the world my real smile
1 of 4 images for my article on wearing lipstick 4 different ways
Delilah Gray

After thousands of pictures, I realized that I look best when I am laughing and actually happy. No one wants a forced smile, it’s not genuine. I’m not sure why I fake a smile when I’m actually happy, but my friends started trying to make me laugh whenever I get ready for a picture to make my smile full.

I am beautiful. Everyone is beautiful.
Kayla Bacon-Friends With Flowers
Kayla Bacon / Her Campus

Study abroad has made me realize that I am beautiful. It hit me when I was trying to take a picture of a sunset. Pictures don’t ever really capture the full beauty of what we see, and pictures don’t capture our full beauty either. There’s so much more to us than just one snapshot in time. We have beautiful features, personalities, and mannerisms that a camera will never fully capture.

I love my people.

This was the biggest thing I learned about myself. I always knew I was people-oriented but I never fully realized how much I let my happiness depend on being around the ones I love. I have learned to be more independent with my happiness, but I now know that my heart is always at home with the ones I love. My loved ones mean the world to me.

Read more about my study abroad journey here!

Ashley Hermansen is a dual major in International Studies and Modern Languages & Linguistics. She loves LOVE and dancing and really just wants to help everyone that she can. That's it, read on <3
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