How Studying Abroad Changed my Life

About three years ago, I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia. It was without a doubt the best experience of my life thus far. I was a bright-eyed freshman at St. Cloud State University who felt that summer was a time for change. Instead of returning to my small town to be a server, I applied on a whim to CAPA International & booked my ticket to Australia. I felt like my first year of college was confusing and disappointing, so I decided to study abroad for most of my summer!. I always knew I wanted to study abroad, but I never expected this trip would change my life in such drastic ways.

While I was there I learned a lot about myself, my goals, and the culture I want to live in. I met a lot of people from America, Australia & other neighboring countries. I love talking to people and I began to understand cross-cultural communication. I had been raised in a small town with very little diversity and exposure; I hated it. I never felt like I fit in or that I belonged. When I went to St. Cloud University, it was better, but I still felt like something was missing in my life. It wasn’t a boyfriend, job, or extracurricular, it was something on a deeper level. During my time abroad, I grew up a lot. I became more independent, competent, and accepting of others. I truly became an adult. I understood the world and all the people who lived in it. I realized that the career path I had been on (business management) wasn’t the right one for me. I wanted something that I could help impact people’s lives and enhance the diversity of businesses. House parties weren’t an interest to me anymore I wanted to be around people who were more mature, hence my interest in the bar scene. I also didn’t need to be surrounded by people to feel complete and happy, I was okay with independence and alone time.

Due to these realizations, I decided to transfer to a different university & change my major.. During my trip, I realised I wanted to be on a diverse campus and I decided that UWM was the place for me! Ever since I applied, I knew that this campus was a better match.It had just the surroundings I wanted!However, it still isn’t the perfect place for me. That’s going to take some more time and self-discovery, but I am much happier here than I was at my first University. My decision to change my major was the perfect decision for me. I am now a double major in Human Resource Management & Communication. I  now have the ability to impact people’s lives in the business world,  and help them with their achievements  through effective communication. House parties became a thing of the past, I enjoy the nightlife in a big city, and I was able to realize that all of my expectations about house parties and boys was way underrated.

I can definitely say that studying abroad changed my life for the better. It was hard at times, but I loved every second of my experience. I am going to try to go on another trip abroad this summer to Europe,  and pursue an international internship! I guess you can say I have the traveling bug engraved in me!