To Anyone Thinking About Studying Abroad

I had heard about it at new student orientation, from former students and even professors: the wonderful experience that is studying abroad. The very thought about leaving the United States to study in a foreign country that I was in no way accustomed with scared me senseless. And for that reason, I was never one to jump at the chance to embark on this cultural experience until I got offered to finish my Spanish minor in Santiago de Chile. Suddenly, I was preparing documents, finding plane tickets and buying a new luggage set.

Studying abroad won’t be a option for everyone. Many students simply do not have the time, financial ability, or major requirements to study abroad. And some students just won’t want to leave the comfort of knowing the language and culture that they are so used to here in the U.S.

I was like those students, even though I’m fluent in Spanish, I was still a nervous wreck when I decided to apply for one of the hundreds of study abroad trips that A&M offers. I didn’t want to leave my family, friends and 4G internet behind while I left to a country I had no former knowledge of for 5 weeks. But sitting here now, writing this article, I cannot put into words how glad I am that I got to experience the wonders of studying abroad, because those 5 weeks changed my entire outlook on pretty much everything.

I came into this journey not knowing what to expect. I only knew one person going, but after 3 whole days, I had already developed friendships that I knew were going to last forever. I met four girls on my trip that have now become my best friends, and I am so grateful that I got to be immersed into such a rich culture with them by my side.

Santiago opened my eyes to how diverse the Hispanic culture is besides what people believe it to be. There were so many new things that I learned from the Chilean culture that I would have never voluntarily taught myself. They are so people-oriented. Instead of being like the United States, where time is money, Chileans take any time out of their day to be unplugged and just be together, whether that be with family, friends or co-workers. It made me  realize that I don’t make enough time for the people I care about, I only preoccupy myself with getting to where I have to be and doing what I have to do for the day. It was such an eye opener.

From the Chilean people and the yummy food, to the amazing friendships I made, I had the best time I had ever had in my life.

I went in scared of an opportunity that I had no idea what to expect from and came out with the best memories. There is not a day goes by that I don’t miss Chile, and I’m pretty sure I have bored everyone with talking about how much fun I had! If you are still deciding on whether or not to study abroad, please do. It will be the best time of your life! Whether it be Europe, Asia or Latin America, just let go and embark on the journey of a lifetime!