Why I Decided to Study Abroad

Upon entering college, the constant message I heard over and over again was, “if you have the opportunity to study abroad, do it.” I heard so many stories and saw so many photos of people having amazing experiences in countries I had barely even heard of before. My freshman year RA even told our whole floor that her biggest regret of college was not studying abroad.

Without giving it much thought, I innately knew studying in another country was something I wanted to do. I attended informational meetings, scrolled through countless travel blogs and videos, and spoke with a few returnees about their experiences abroad. But it was not until the application was due that reality set in and all of the doubts, questions, and concerns became prominent, shouting voices in my mind. What if I did not have a good experience? What if I went to the wrong country? What if I got lost hundreds of thousands of miles away from any family or friends that would know to look for me? What if I didn’t like my classes? What if, what if, what if. I teetered on the edge back and forth, entirely indecisive. 

I had somehow managed to convince myself of all the ways studying abroad would go terribly wrong, even though deep down I knew it was something I had always wanted to do. While I managed to put it off for the entirety of my college career, hours before the application for the last quarter I could possibly make it work was due, I decided to apply on a whim of impulse.

While I am still incredibly nervous, I have a feeling that life in a new territory will be worth it, I know that this experience will challenge me in more ways than one, alone in an entirely new country, adapting to a new culture, truly independent and responsible for my own wellbeing. But for once in my life, I am excited for the unknown and embracing it with open arms. Going in with an open mind, I am ready to have my expectations subverted. The opportunity to learn, travel, meet new people, and discover a new side of myself is one that I am not willing to pass up. I know things may not go “perfectly”, but the experience is sure to be an interesting one. Life is too short to wonder what you could have done differently, or to worry about what you missed out on. If there is something you have always wanted to try, what are you waiting for? I say go for it!

Image via CNN